Gaming stocks rise following changes to visas

Hong Kong-listed shares of the big casino operators in Macau are soaring after changes to visa rules allowing mainland visitors to stay seven days in Macau rather than five.

A six-member index of China gaming stocks tracked by Bloomberg jumped more than 12 percent, the biggest jump since October 7, 2011, on the news.

Wynn Macau rose as much as 15.8 per cent to HK$14.98; Galaxy Entertainment Group rose as much as 14.9 per cent to HK$35.50; and Sands China rose as much as 18.2 per cent to HK$30.85.

The stock movement comes as Macau’s gambling revenue fell to a five-year low in June of 36.2 percent, taking the fall in revenues to 13 straight months since China’s crackdown on corruption took off.

In a note by UBS, analysts said the recent visa policy change dampens fears on further local tightening.

 “It also reduces the risks of large consensus downgrades, even though fundamentally the policy change is not enough to cause any upward GGR revisions in the near term. We believe it is unattractive to take a negative sector position in this backdrop.”