Shares of casino operators got a big boost Monday after Macau officials announced that an easing of pandemic-era travel restrictions would begin in the coming weeks. News surfaced over the weekend that Macau had been OK’d to resume issuing electronic visas for individuals and tour groups in late October or early November. J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff said that would be the “first meaningful” easing of travel restrictions to the gambling center since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“This positive development isn’t something the industry or investors were expecting and so we look at this policy news as [a] sizable positive for a sector that has been viewed as very tough to invest in by the buy-side,” Greff wrote in a note to clients, for two key reasons:
A “miserable” near-term operating environment in which recent gross gaming revenue run rates are only about 10% of prepandemic levels.
The lack of capacity to reasonably predict when travel mobility would start improving among mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.
Shares of Wynn Resorts Ltd.
shot up 12.7% to pace the gainers in the S&P 500 index
and Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s stock