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MGM CEO says Macau ATM withdrawal limits will 'reduce some gaming revenue,' but he's still optimistic

MGM Resorts International CEO Jim Murren responded to the news that Macau is planning to implement ATM cash withdrawals on Thursday, saying that while revenues will be reduced, he's still optimistic about the long-term story for Macau.

"I think the controls the Chinese government have put into place are consistent with the kinds of controls they have put into place in the past … I don't want to minimize its significance, it will reduce some gaming revenue. But the long-term play in Macau is an extremely positive story," Murren told "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer.

The Chinese gambling haven plans to create a daily withdrawal limit of 5,000 patacas, down from 10,000 patacas ($625.93 from $1,251.87) according to the South China Morning Post.

Stocks of major casino plays fell Thursday on the news, and shares of MGM hit an all-time high earlier in the day and promptly dropped, ultimately closing down 4 percent.

"The Chinese government has done a really good job over many, many years trying to sustain growth for Macau. What they want to see is not a lot of knee-jerk growth or up and down growth, they want to see consistent improvement in tourism and revenue," Murren said.





Slot machines beneath a fanciful ceiling treatment on the game floor of the new MGM National Harbor Casino, preparing to open next week, on December, 02, 2016 in Oxon Hill, MD.
Bill O'Leary | The Washington Post | Getty Images
Slot machines beneath a fanciful ceiling treatment on the game floor of the new MGM National Harbor Casino, preparing to open next week, on December, 02, 2016 in Oxon Hill, MD.

MGM receives approximately 20 percent of its profits from Macau, and 80 percent in the U.S. In addition to opening a new resort in Cotai in 2017, MGM opened a new resort in Oxon, Maryland on the National Harbor.

Murren said the company hopes to take aim at the wealthy Washington D.C. area with the new casino and be profitable to both the state of Maryland and MGM.

"Our idea is to help everyone do well here. There is plenty of demand," Murren said. "Virginia doesn't have gaming. The District, as you know, they've never had a bad day in Washington D.C. economically. So, there's a lot of money around here and they are going to be coming over to Maryland to spend it."

The new casino has created approximately 4,000 new jobs, and Murren said he considers gaming industry jobs to be the "pathway to the middle class." The casino also includes a 4,000-seat entertainment venue that will feature artists such as Bruno Mars and Cher, and bring back boxing to the area.

Ultimately, Murren was optimistic with the future of gaming, especially with President-elect Donald Trump's background in hospitality and gaming.

"We are all about job growth, and I can say that our industry is not only an important part of the U.S. economy, but a growing part in having a growing political voice in what's important to America," Murren said.

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