Macau is in the news once again as the Las Vegas of the East is enduring some more unrest. That's where we'll start our recap of the casino news of the week.
Turbulence in Macau Leads Casino Stocks to Tumble
Macau continues to be an up-and-down place both in terms of gambling revenue and for investors. Many of the country's casino stocks are having a really tough time as of late. Wynn Macau and Melco International Development have declined as much as 6% recently while MGM China has dipped by about 3.5% with Sands China slipping about 2.1%. This has been caused by rumors that the Chinese government is planning to crack down on transfers of money between their country and people in Macau. This topic first came up months ago when it was originally reported that the government might consider this strategy because they're worried about potential money laundering. While that was speculation at first, it appears to be moving closer to a reality.
China has cracked down on the gambling industry in recent years from time to time but Macau looked like it was bouncing back. Casinos had adjusted to a drop in gambling revenues by building up other aspects of their facilities, such as hotels and restaurants. Still, that hasn't stopped the government from going hard at betting. Last month, employees of Crown Resorts, an Australian company, were put in jail for promoting on the mainland. That's made a lot of investors nervous, which is why they've dumped their Macau casino stocks of late.
Belgium to Raise Casino Gambling Age to 21?
Belgium is already one of the most regulated places in all of Europe when it comes to betting but new restrictions could be put in place later this year. That's because there are politicians that are looking to raise the age of betting in the country from 18 to 21. A recent study showed that one in five people aged 17 to 18 are betting online. The Christian Democratic and Flemish Party would like to try and stop that, even though there is nothing that says these people are more or less at risk of developing a gambling problem.
In terms of some other restrictions that are now being discussed, the government is looking to cut off any type of betting commercials before 8:00pm and to possibly curtail them completely during sporting events. It's become clear that Belgium is looking to get even tougher on gambling.
Indiana Gaming Commission Reports Strong Numbers
It has been a good year for casinos in Indiana as their gaming commission recently released their revenue numbers. In June, the northwestern part of the state, which has five casinos, reported revenue of over $75 million. Those same casinos brought in just under $71 million in June 2016, so there was an increase of over 6% from the previous year. Three of those five casinos actually saw their revenue go up while two went in the opposite direction.
The Ameristar Casino led the way in increased revenue as they picked up $17.81 million, which was up from $16.38 million last year. Blue Chip Casino was next, climbing to $13.05 million from $12.49 million. Finally, the Horseshoe Hammond went up from $29.18 million to $32.33 million. On the other hand, there was the Majestic Star, which only pulled in $7.32 million compared to $7.50 million the previous year. Then there was the Majestic Star II, which dropped to $4.68 million from $5.41 million. The two Majestic Star casinos have some work to do to keep up with the other three in that part of the state.