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Here's Why Casino Stocks Gained Today

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Shares of some of the world’s largest casino companies—including Wynn Resorts (WYNN - Free Report) , Las Vegas Sands (LVS - Free Report) , and MGM Resorts (MGM - Free Report) —were gaining in morning trading Thursday after the latest Macau revenue numbers pointed to a continued recovery in the gambling hotspot.

Revenues in Macau grew 24% in the month of May, beating estimates and marking the tenth-straight month of growth in the region. Gambling-specific revenue in China’s special casino hub was up 22.7%, according to regulators. Industry analysts were expecting May’s growth to fall between 15% and 20%.

Another impressive month for Macau serves to confirm that VIPs are back in the area and revenues have recovered from their five-year lows hit in 2014 when China launched an anti-graft campaign that targeted some wealthy gamblers.

Shares of Wynn Resorts, which is currently a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), gained more than 3.3% in morning trading Thursday. Wynn’s new Macau property, the Wynn Palace, recently completed its second full quarter of operations, lifting the company’s revenue figures 48% year-over-year (also read: Should You Buy Wynn Resorts (WYNN - Free Report) Stock?).

Other Vegas giants with properties in Macau gained as well. Las Vegas Sands was up more than 2.8%, while MGM Resorts moved nearly 2.2% higher.

Melco Crown Entertainment (MLCO - Free Report) , which gets the majority of its revenue from Macau, spiked more than 4.4% early Thursday, but shares eventually slumped back down towards a gain of 2%. Melco Crown is also a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

Macau’s recovery may see some pushback in the near future, as new regulatory initiatives are starting to be implemented in the world’s largest casino hub. Last week, Macau regulators joined forces with Chinese officials to launch a new anti-money laundering program.

There are new security measures in the area, including facial recognition at ATM machines—a move meant to enforce a withdrawal limit. Regulators are also trying to crack down on junkets, a form of middlemen that offer credit to high-rollers.

Nevertheless, Macau is also attempting to transform into an all-ages, family-friendly tourist destination, so investors should look for that to become more of a factor there soon.

Want more stock market analysis from this author? Make sure to follow @Ryan_McQueeney on Twitter!

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