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Exclusive: China eases Macau visas; casino shares mixed

21 September 2009

HONG KONG -- As reported by Reuters: "China has quietly eased restrictions on its citizens traveling from Guangdong province to Macau, sending casino stocks soaring on Monday as industry executives bet on record October earnings in the world's hottest gambling market.

"Shares of Galaxy Entertainment and Melco International jumped around 9 percent, and SJM Holdings was up more than 6 percent, while the broader Hang Seng stock index fell 0.7 percent.

"Shares of U.S. casino companies were mixed, with Wynn Resorts (WYNN.O) up 1.2 percent at $70.02 in morning trading. Las Vegas Sands (LVS.N) was down 1.7 percent at $18.53, and MGM Mirage (MGM.N) was down 1.2 percent at $13.06.

"...authorities began easing up on the rule as early as two months ago, and noticeably loosened the restriction at the start of this month, said top executives at two of Macau's six casino licensees, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation..."

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