Melco Crown Philippines (PSE:MCP), the Philippine arm of Melco Resorts & Entertainment group of Asia, is the world’s top-performing casino stock of 2017, a Bloomberg report confirms. According to the report, since 2015 the stock saw a return that was eight times higher than a “Bloomberg Intelligence index of global casino stocks”, while the company posted the highest gains out of any casino operator, reaching a market value of $500 million, at least, during this year.

The biggest contributors to MCP’s 125% increase in shares this year are reportedly Chinese tourists. Philippine president, Rodrigo Duterte has been working on repairing ties with China for some time, which combined with the gambling crackdown China’s President Xi Jinping started and Macau’s own anti-corruption efforts are seen as the factors driving Chinese gamblers away from Macau and into Manila, the report suggests.

Another growth factor is believed to be the acceptance of betting over the phone in MCP’s City of Dreams Manila Casino and Philippines in general, which was fought aggressively in Macau, first with a phone ban and later with bans on other forms of phone gambling.

Duterte’s public support for the need to establish better relations between the Philippines and China has reportedly lead to a 25% increase in Chinese tourist to the country during the beginning of 2017, or 14% of the total visits according to official numbers, making China the number three tourist source in the Philippines. A local supply manager who has been playing at the City of Dreams confirmed to Bloomberg there has been an increase in foreign gamblers, saying that most of them come from China.

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