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Wynn Macau shares jump 8% in Hong Kong after founder resigns

2018-02-08T091332Z_1800380292_RC18838A6250_RTRMADP_3_WYNN-RESORTS-CEO-LAWSUIT.JPG
Shares in the Macau casino operator owned by US gaming tycoon Steve Wynn soared on Thursday after he stepped down as head of its parent following allegations of sexual misconduct.

[HONG KONG] Shares in the Macau casino operator owned by US gaming tycoon Steve Wynn soared on Thursday after he stepped down as head of its parent following allegations of sexual misconduct.

Trading in Hong Kong-listed Wynn Macau was suspended on Wednesday before it was announced the billionaire would resign as chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts.

By the end of the trade on Thursday it had surged 8 per cent to HK$27.00.

Wynn is one of six licensed operators in the Chinese enclave of Macau, which is the only part of China where casino gambling is legal and is a favourite haunt of mainland high rollers, far surpassing the revenue generated by Las Vegas.

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Authorities are bolstering their oversight of the city's gambling industry ahead of licence renewal talks as concessions start to expire in 2020.

Wynn Macau's licence is up for renewal in 2022 and analysts said pressure and scrutiny on the casino's status, marred by the scandal, may ease with its founder's departure.

"Macau's regulator has emphasised it needs to make sure if the key persons of casino operators are suitable," David Bonnet, partner at Delta State Holdings Ltd, told Bloomberg News.

Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts shares tumbled last month following a report in the Wall Street Journal alleging he pressured staff to perform sex acts. Shares in the firm surged 8.6 per cent in US trading Wednesday after Wynn's resignation.

The 76-year-old former business rival turned political ally of President Donald Trump resigned late last month from his role as Republican National Committee finance chairman, a post he had assumed after his friend took office last January.

Wynn has denied the allegations and accused his ex-wife Elaine of instigating them as part of a "terrible and nasty lawsuit" seeking a revised divorce settlement.

AFP

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