Macau-linked stocks boosted after Japanese casino bill clears first legislative stage

Niraku GC Holdings, a Japanese operator of pinball-like pachinko parlours, soars 139pc while peer Dynam Japan Holdings Co gains 44pc

PUBLISHED : Monday, 05 December, 2016, 2:34pm
UPDATED : Monday, 05 December, 2016, 10:57pm

Japanese gaming shares skyrocketed in Hong Kong after the country’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party took a step further to push ahead with the legalisation of casino gambling in Asia’s second largest economy.

Niraku GC Holdings, a Japanese operator of pinball-like pachinko parlours, shot up as much as 139 per cent to HK$1.67 in morning trading in Hong Kong, while its peer Dynam Japan Holdings Co also soared as much as 44 per cent to HK$14.70 on the city’s bourse.

The sharp rally came as the legislation to legalise casino gambling in Japan passed a lower house committee in parliament last Friday following just six-plus hours of debate, amid the backing of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government that is expected to fuel a tourism boom in casino resorts.

The casino bill was pushed forward by the governing Liberal Democratic Party which attempted to get it passed in a plenary session of the lower house of the parliament as early as Tuesday, according to reports by the Kyodo news agency.

Members of the opposition Democratic Party walked out the committee vote in protest, while those of the Liberal Democratic Party’s coalition partner Komeito Party gave a green light to the bill for consideration by the full membership of the lower house, which could not reach a consensus on concerns over worsening gambling addiction, the news outlet said,

The Abe administration has argued that casino gaming will give a boost to the country’ leisure industry, and overall subdued economic growth, in the run up to the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, and as a prolonged strong yen has deterred spending by overseas travellers.

Macau, the world’s largest gambling hub and the only place in China where casinos are legal, saw its November gaming revenue grow by 14.4 per cent, at its fastest pace since February 2014.

Two newly-opened integrated resorts – Wynn Macau’s Wynn Palace and Sands China’s The Parisian – sparked visitor growth in the southern Chinese enclave, following a reshaping by much of the insustry there from being magnet to VIP high-rollers, to a destination for more mass-market tourists.

Analysts said mainland travellers could well be lured away from Macau for a holiday, should the casino bill be passed in Japan.

Yoji Sato, Dynam’s chairman and one of Japan’s wealthiest businessmen, told Reuters in April that the company had held talks with Macau-based operators Melco Crown Entertainment, SJM Holdings and Galaxy Entertainment Group over a potential Japan casino following the passage of the bill.

Among Macau gaming players, Galaxy Entertainment shares rose 1.68 per cent to HK$36.35 and SJM Holdings added 0.66 per cent to HK$6.14 per cent by the lunch break.