HomeBusinessCasino Stocks Fall as Macau Shuts Businesses Amid Covid-19 Outbreak

Casino Stocks Fall as Macau Shuts Businesses Amid Covid-19 Outbreak


Shares of casino companies with operations in the gambling enclave of Macau fell after city officials ordered all businesses aside from essential services to shut down for a week in an attempt to tamp down a Covid-19 outbreak.

Las Vegas Sands Corp.

LVS -6.31%

, which owns several properties in Macau through its subsidiary

Sands China,

SCHYY -8.29%

fell $2.17, or 6.3%, to $32.21 a share on Monday. The stock is down more than 14% so far this year, still outperforming the S&P 500’s 19% decline over that same period.

Shares of

Wynn Resorts Ltd.

WYNN -6.46%

fell $3.65, or 6.5%, to $52.81. The stock is down almost 38% in 2022.

The selloff underscores the degree to which some U.S.-based gambling companies have come to rely on operations in Macau. Before the pandemic, in 2019, Macau supplied nearly 70% of revenue for Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts.

Shares of

MGM Resorts International,

MGM -3.20%

which relies more on its U.S. properties for revenue, fell 94 cents, or 3.2%, to $28.40. MGM stock is down almost 37% so far this year.

Hong Kong-based

Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd.

, which operates casinos and hotels in Macau and the Philippines, felt the sting, too, with Nasdaq-listed American depositary shares falling 54 cents, or 9.6% to $5.06.

The latest restrictions in Macau come as the city struggles to contain an outbreak that had already shuttered venues such as cinemas, salons and swimming pools. The Chinese gambling hub has recorded hundreds of cases in recent weeks, its worst-ever outbreak after keeping to China’s zero-Covid strategy for most of the pandemic.

Macau’s chief executive, Ho Iat-seng, had said last month that shutting down all casinos “would affect many employees,” and as such the city’s more than 40 casinos had been allowed to continue operations. Macau relies on the gambling sector for much of its economic growth and employment.

Macau has a population of about 650,000. Throughout the pandemic, it has maintained strict Covid-containment measures. At one point, quarantine for travelers from what it deemed very high-risk countries was as long as 28 days.

The latest lockdown order, issued Saturday, specified that all adults who needed to leave their homes would be required to wear masks of KN95-standard or above. Those who violated that order could be subject to jail time.

A new type of online gambling called live dealing is taking off in the U.S. as some states relax gambling laws. WSJ’s Katherine Sayre visits Playtech’s new broadcast studio in the Detroit suburbs, where dealers flip cards and spin roulette wheels for gamblers at home on their phones. Photo Illustration: Adele Morgan

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