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Macau casino stocks drop after Beijing announces ATM withdrawal limits

Casinos rise from the skyline of Macau, China.
Jerome Favre | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Casinos rise from the skyline of Macau, China.

Stocks of major casino operators like Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, and Melco Crown Entertainment, dropped more than 10 percent Thursday afternoon following a report that Macau is planning to limit how much cash some bank card users can withdraw from ATMs.

South China Morning Post reported the Chinese gambling mecca is planning to enforce a daily withdrawal limit cut from 10,000 to 5,000 patacas (or about $1,250 to $626). This will take effect on Saturday, the SCMP reported, after a finding that 10 billion patacas in China UnionPay ATM withdrawals were made in one month alone.

China's central government has a tight rein on Macau affairs. This isn't the first time the government has cracked down on withdrawals in the Chinese region.

"We've seen a money cap before," said Adam Trivison, equity analyst at Gabelli & Co. "People still have other ways to get money, whether through the purchase of goods and then transforming those goods into cash or by just having multiple cards."

Still, he said the latest restrictions "could dampen sentiment with the stocks and consumer sentiment" in Macau but said it's probably "a little early to tell."

Melco, LVS and Wynn during Thursday Intraday