From Las Vegas to Macau, shares of casino operators are tumbling. That bad news could get worse before it gets better, further pressuring the Market Vectors Gaming ETF (NYSEArca: BJK) in the process.
The options market could be signaling more declines are on the way for BJK as prices for bearish puts on some of the ETF’s largest holdings race to multi-year highs.
One-month options to sell shares of Wynn Resorts (NasdaqGS: WYNN) and Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS) are at the highest levels since 2008 while puts on MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) cost the most in six years, reportsOliver Renick for Bloomberg.
Las Vegas Sands and Wynn were BJK’s two largest holdings as of Jan. 20, combining for 15.2% of the ETF’s weight, according to Market Vectors data. MGM was the ETF’s fifth-largest holding at 4.7%.
Macau, the world’s largest gambling hub, has been pressuring BJK since last year. In 2014, gamblers stayed home to bet on the World Cup. Limited access to smaller smaller junket operators, who extend credit to gamblers, is also weighing on the market. Macau has also been cracking down on illegal transactions and imposed new regulatory changes, such as restricting the use of China UnionPay Co.’s debit cards at casinos. [Macau Illegal Transaction Crackdown Puts Gaming ETF in the Red]
Macau gaming revenue slipped 2.6% last year and Barclays expects an 8% decline this year, according to Bloomberg. Chinese stocks account for almost 15% of BJK’s weight.