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Analyst says earthquake won't affect Macau, Singapore

14 March 2011

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- A Wall Street researcher attempted to temper investors’ concerns surrounding how the tragic events last week in Japan might fall over into Macau and Singapore.

Wells Fargo Securities gaming analyst Carlo Santarelli said the impact surrounding Japan’s horrific earthquake and tsunami shouldn’t be felt by gaming operations in Asia.

In Macau, roughly 2 percent of visitation to the market comes from Japan. Santarelli said much of the Japanese business to Macau is high-end play.

“That said we do not believe even a long term disruption of visitation to Japan will have a meaningful impact on gross gaming revenue or operator fundamentals,” Santarelli told investors on Friday.

Singapore has much higher volume of visitation from Japan, roughly 5 percent, which has trended down in each of the last four years.

The biggest question surrounds the potential for gaming expansion to Japan. Italy turned to casinos following an earthquake in 2009. Santarelli wondered if Japan would follow suit.

“While we don't care to speculate on how these events will impact the process in Japan, we do believe investors may come to the conclusion that the need to raise funds for Japan will have more urgency post these tragic events,” he said.