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Visa restrictions and limits on Chinese credit cards slowing Macau's gambling revenues

4 July 2012

NEW YORK, NY -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- In recent years major casino companies have looked to Macau for a large portion of their revenues. There has been growing speculation that visa restrictions and limits on Chinese credit cards have been major causes for the recent slowdown in Macau's gaming revenue growth. The Paragon Report examines investing opportunities in the Resorts and Casinos Industry and provides equity research on Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) and Wynn Resorts, Limited (WYNN).

"Recent weakness in Macau gaming revenue and visitation growth could be partially explained by the visa restrictions and reduction in China Union Pay limits highlighted by the Macau Daily," Cameron McKnight, Wells Fargo & Co. analyst, said in a recent research note. "While expectations have recently moderated, we believe out performance in the Macau stocks is likely to be limited here."

Gambling revenue in May saw just a 7.3 percent increase, the slowest rate in almost 3 years. According to Bloomberg, visitors from mainland China boosted casino revenues in Macau by 42 percent in 2011. Last year roughly 16 million people visited Macau from mainland China.

Sands China opened their new resort Sands Cotai Central on April 11, 2012. The company has invested more than $8 billion in Macau. Total net revenues for Sands China increased 25 percent to $1.45 billion in the first quarter of 2012, compared to $1.16 billion in the first quarter of 2011. Net income for the company increased 5.8 percent to $277.4 million in the first quarter of 2012, compared to $262.1 million in the first quarter of 2011.

Wynn recently unveiled plans to spend $ 4 billion, which was considerably higher than analysts' estimates, on a new casino resort in Macau. In the first quarter of 2012 the company's Macau operations recorded net revenues of $950.7 million, a 9.8 percent increase from the $865.7 million generated in the first quarter of 2011.

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