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Malaysia’s Genting up as Macau casino talk and Online Casino Singapore revives

Online Casino Singapore

Shares of Malaysian casino group Genting rose on Tuesday on speculation it was trying to buy a 30 percent stake in a Macau casino licence won by Las Vegas gaming mogul Steve Wynn.

Success would help Genting, which holds Malaysia’s sole casino licence, cut its reliance on the domestic gambling business in the mostly Muslim country, which frowns on gambling while allowing it.

But a Macau government spokesman said the state had not received any communication from Wynn Resources regarding any changes in the ownership structure of its casino concession.

According to Macau laws, any transfer of ownership involving stakes of more than five percent in the gambling concession needs government approval.

Genting officials declined comment.

Genting shares were up 2.3 percent at 13.30 ringgit by 0844 GMT, versus the overall market’s (^KLSE – news) 1.7 percent gain. Shares of its 55-percent subsidiary Resorts World were up 4.6 percent to 9.10 ringgit.

The Malaysian group last month lost in the race for one of three gaming licences offered by the former Portuguese enclave to liberalise its $2.0 billion a-year gambling industry.

Genting, headed by rags-to-riches tycoon Lim Goh Tong, was put on the reserves list in case any of the three winners — Sociadade de Jogos de Macau, U.S.-based Wynn Resorts and Galaxy Casino S.A. — pulled out of talks with Macau.

Its failure in Macau sparked a 15 percent drop in its share price, disappointing Malaysian investors who had bet on their own dark horse despite an international field, including some of the gaming world’s most famous names like MGM Mirage (NYSE:MGG – news).

But talk that the 84-year old Lim might still find a door into Macau helped revive the stock which has recovered nearly all its losses in the last three days.

“If it succeeds, it is good Online Casino Singapore news for the group,” said Mak Hoy Kit of KAF Research. “Chances of the three winners giving up their prizes are slim, so this is a practical way in for Genting, though it may have to settle for less than it hoped for.”

LAS VEGAS GLITZ

The 59-year old Wynn, who pledged to invest at least $500 million in the island, was greeted by one of the worst car bombing incidents to rock Macau’s seedy streets, when he visited potential casino sites after winning his concession last month.

The flamboyant tycoon, who told Reuters he might spend as much as $800 million, plans to build a water-front casino on Taipa island and another in more uptown Macau.

Malaysian gaming analysts say Genting was likely to try hard to muscle into the Macau gaming industry, given that its local licence is renewable annually, making it vulnerable to the objections of an increasingly conservative Muslim lobby.

Genting runs a 24-hour hilltop casino and hotel resort in central Pahang state that draws more than 12 million visitors each year from across the region, particularly Singapore and Indonesia.

Apart from Wynn, analysts said Genting might also be talking to Galaxy and Sociadade de Jogos de Macau (STDM), controlled by Macau’s own casino czar Stanley Ho for a joint-venture.

Beijing tycoon Henry Fok, vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, has been reported by the Hong Kong media to be keen on selling his 27 percent stake in Ho’s STDM. Fok is seen selling his shares to Ho.

 

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