Analyst Note| Dan Wasiolek |
Our long-held view that all six existing Macao gaming licenses would be renewed by the June 22 expiration date was confirmed by the Chinese government on Jan. 14, removing an overhang for Las Vegas Sands and Wynn, whose shares were up by low double digits and high single digits, respectively. Additionally, no additional licenses will be awarded, matching our ongoing stance. The gaming licenses will be renewed for a 10-year period (with the possibility for a three-year extension), also in line with our thinking. While operators will need to notify the government of any capital distributions, there is no restriction on the activity (as modeled), which had been a concern in the market. Overall, this supports the regulatory intangible asset advantage--the source of their narrow moats--for Las Vegas Sands and Wynn.