Gambling sector-related exchange traded fund stood out from the pack on Friday, with Las Vegas Sands (LVS) and Wynn Resorts (WYNN) surging, after Macau clarified rules on casino licensing.
The VanEck Vectors Gaming ETF (NasdaqGM: BJK) increased 1.6% on Friday.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas Sands Corp shares jumped 10.7% and Wynn Resorts shares surged 6.5%. BJK includes a 6.0% tilt toward LVS and 2.7% toward WYNN.
Macau, the world’s largest gambling locale, will cap the number of casino operator licenses to six and support local ownership requirements when it begins auctioning off new permissions later this year, TheStreet reports.
Macau, a Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China, will reduce the length of gaming licenses to 13 years from the current 20 years and limit the total amount to six. Beijing is also supporting domestic markets by raising local ownership requirements to 15% from 10%, according to officials. Furthermore, regulators are considering restrictions on the amount of casino shares that can trade publicly.
Casino stocks rallied on the clarification as the new recommendations, which need approval from the local legislature, helped remove the amount of uncertainty for U.S. gaming operators as they prep to bid on the new licenses in June.
“There was previously concern about the future dividend distribution policy (which if limited would make it difficult for any money generated in Macau to accrete back to the US listed stocks),” Credit Suisse analyst Benjamin Chaiken told TheStreet. “It sounds like that dynamic has been dropped (as did) a proposal to add delegates to the board of Macau operators (this was never a major concern for us, but either way it’s out). Macau will look for other ways to ‘strengthen supervision.’”
Casino stocks took a hit last year when Macau began making reforms to both the number and tenure of casino permits amid a broader crackdown across China. Lei Wai Nong, Macau’s secretary for economy and finance, previously warned he would “maintain or even reduce the number of concessionaires” in this year’s bidding process.
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