A report that China is imposing new visa restrictions for visitors to Macau is taking a toll on U.S. gaming stocks with properties in Asia’s Las Vegas.
The South China Morning Post said Mainland authorities have quietly changed the visitation policy for the residents of the southern Chinese province of Guangdong.
Residents now are allowed one trip every three months instead of two months. One of Macau’s biggest sources of customers is Guangdong.
The Hong Kong-based paper said the new policy, which quietly took effect on October 1, seems to be aimed at curbing the outflow of Mainland money and limiting casino development.
U.S. companies with hotel casinos in Macau include MGM Mirage, Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands.
China’s new visa policy follows several moves to tighten visits to Macau since June.
Andy Wu Keng-kuong, president of the Travel Industry Council of Macau, said the visa limits could hurt growth in Mainland visitors.
He still expects visitor numbers for the year to be up 10% from 2007. Visitor arrivals to Macau have been rising by almost 20% annually in recent years.
Source: CNN Money. com