asino operators including Galaxy Entertainment Group and Sands China fell this week, following a Macau Daily report that growth in the number of mainland visitors may have slowed as the Guangdong local government could be tightening rules on issuing visas.
Visitors from the mainland drove casino revenue up 42 percent last year in the only city in China where casinos are legal, pushing up earnings at Macau operators. About 16 million mainland Chinese visited the world’s largest gambling hub in 2011. “We have not received any notice on China tightening visa issuance to visitors traveling to Macau,” Gigi Chiu, spokeswoman for the Macau Government Tourist Office said by e- mail.
Chinese nationals need visas to go to Hong Kong and Macau, which are special administrative regions.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch analysts said they called several offices of China’s Division of Exit and Entry Administration Department, which handles visa issuance. “Based on their responses we are not aware of any change in visa application process or timing,” analyst Billy Ng said in a June 26 note to clients.