UPDATE 1-Macau government to regulate the building of casinos

* Macau to regulate building of new casinos – chief exec

* Casino stocks in Hong Kong end down between 0.2 and 2 pct
(Adds details, quotes)

By Donny Kwok and Sui-Lee Wee

HONG KONG, March 16 (BestGrowthStock) – Macau will seek to regulate
the building of new casinos, its chief executive said, in a sign
that the government is trying to temper overheating in the
world’s fastest-growing gambling market.

Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui’s comments could brighten
the outlook for existing casino operators including Las Vegas
Sands (LVS.N: ) and Wynn Resorts (WYNN.O: ) and their locally listed
units Sands China (1928.HK: ) and Wynn Macau (1128.HK: ) as potential
curbs would help profits by limiting oversupply.

“Apart from those we have agreed in principle in the past, in
construction and those already approved, we will regulate (
approval of the building of new casinos) in the future,” Chui
said at a news conference on Tuesday, after delivering his first
policy address.

Chui also said the government planned to set up a regulatory
body to monitor the growth of the gambling industry.

Shares of U.S.-listed casino companies operating in Macau
fell on Monday on wariness that the Chinese city’s new chief
executive could unveil a 2010 policy plan that caps its
fast-growing gambling industry. [ID:nN15207812]

In Hong Kong, shares of casino operators ended down between
0.2 and 2 percent on Tuesday.

Macau, once a Portuguese colony and now a special
administrative region under Chinese rule, has repeatedly sought
to rein in the explosive growth in the only market in China where
gambling is legal.

Earlier government strictures, dating from April 2008,
included a moratorium on new casino licenses, a building freeze
and a cap on visas to mainland Chinese visiting Macau, moves seen
as motivated by an increasingly concerned Beijing.

The Macau government was unlikely to make new gambling
concessions available, the territory’s chief gambling regulator
told Reuters in an interview in January. [ID:nTOE60I0A5]

Gambling revenue in Macau, which passed Las Vegas several
years ago to become the world’s No.1 gambling centre, rose nearly
70 percent in both January and February, compared with a year
earlier.

Other Macau casino operators include Galaxy Entertainment
Group (0027.HK: ), SJM Holdings Ltd (0880.HK: ), Melco Crown
Entertainment Ltd (MPEL.O: ) and a casino run by MGM Mirage (MGM.N: )
and local businesswoman Pansy Ho.

Separately, Chui said Macau will speed up the development of
public housing, in a bid to cool its red-hot property market.

Stock Market Advice

UPDATE 1-Macau government to regulate the building of casinos