Shares in Macau casino operators soared up to 13% on Monday after the city’s leader said China would resume an e-visa scheme for mainland travellers and permit group tours, which could likely boost the footfall in the world’s biggest gambling hub, reports Reuters. The Chinese special administrative region, which is the only place in the country where it is legal for citizens to gamble in casinos, will aim to open to mainland tour groups in November for the first time in almost three years, the city’s chief executive Ho Iat Seng said on Saturday.
Macau, a former Portuguese colony, has implemented stringent COVID-19 pandemic restrictions with tight border controls since 2020, resulting in a major impact on its casino industry.
The announcement came earlier than expected, analysts said, who had anticipated such measures to be introduced only early next year. Mainland gamblers account for around 90% of total casino revenue.