Hong Kong's stock exchange is considering allowing more businesses with casino operations to list in the SAR. Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEx) is thought to be hoping to cash in on the expected boom in Macau's casino industry following last week's granting of new licences. The exchange has the power to refuse a listing to any company involved in any business which 'in the opinion of the exchange' is not suitable for a berth on the boards. Since only gambling on a Hong Kong Jockey Club event is legal in Hong Kong, the stock exchange has often refused requests from business operators with significant casino activities. But an HKEx source said: 'We need to move with the times. Some business that might be thought as not suitable for listing in the past may have become suitable now.' Some analysts think Hong Kong's capital markets could play a role in fund-raising activities for Macau's latest effort to reinvent its gambling industry. Last week it broke the 40-year casino monopoly of businessman Stanley Ho Hung-sun, granting three casino concessions - not only to Mr Ho's Macau Gaming but also to two Las Vegas-based gambling giants. The two foreign additions to the Macau gambling scene are Las Vegas casino magnate Steve Wynn and Galaxy Casino, which is backed by The Venetian, one of the biggest resort casinos in Las Vegas. Yesterday, HKEx chief executive Kwong Ki-chi said the bourse would seek advice from the Securities and Futures Commission when casino operators applied to list their businesses in Hong Kong. 'If [an applicant's] business involves [being inconsistent with] Hong Kong's overall policy, we will consult the Securities and Futures Commission,' Mr Kwong said in comments after yesterday's post-Lunar New Year market-opening ceremony. In the past the exchange has rejected all bids by casino operators to list. However, the tenets on which those decisions were based have been changing gradually. The exchange source said a listing could happen if 'an applicant operates an entertainment conglomerate in which gambling is only part of the business'. The source cited Singapore-based Star Cruises, which floated on the main board in December 2000, as an example, pointing out that although the company operated casinos on its cruise ships, it was still regarded as primarily a cruise-ship operator. Since last week's announcement of the three casino concessions, analysts have begun to speculate whether the winners might use Hong Kong's stock market to raise funds to finance their investments. The speculation has resulted in a sharp rise in some stocks linked to the winning bidders. Among them are K Wah International and K Wah Construction, which are controlled by Lui Che-woo, whose son, Lawrence Lui Yiu-nam, is among the shareholders of the winning bid by Galaxy Casino. On Monday, the two SAR-listed companies saw their share prices jump - up 27 per cent for K Wah International, and 13 per cent for its sister firm - as investors speculated some of the casino businesses could be injected into the listed vehicles. Meanwhile, some industry players expect the stock market could go out of its way to lure the new Macau casino operators to raise funds in Hong Kong, as a way to spur the sluggish market into life. The new players will commit at least HK$4 billion each to their casino businesses in Macau.