Macau Casino Heist Causes Big Drop For Wynn Stocks After Employee Steals $258 Million

A Macau casino heist is making headlines today after news of the heist sent Wynn’s stocks tumbling late last week. A heist involving $258 million at Wynn Macau is being reported by Bloomberg.

Who is behind the heist? This latest Macau casino heist involves a junket operator named Dore Holdings. Barron’s Asia stated that a cage manager working for the junket made off with the big score.

What is a junket? In the Macau casino business, a junket helps the casinos deal with the high rollers. Dore runs two VIP rooms with a total 25 tables inside Wynn Macau. Derk Boss, a casino security consultant in Las Vegas, told the media that the junket operators in Macau are “very powerful and work very much independently.”

Bloomberg revealed more about the operation of junkets.

“Junket operators have played a critical role in the development of Macau into the world’s largest gambling hub. They establish relationships with players on the mainland, bring them to the casinos and lend them money to play, important in a market where money transfers and bad debt collections are restricted. The casinos provide dealers, chips and private rooms where the junket operators bring their clients. The money up to there is handled by junket employees, a situation that can make it difficult for the casino to monitor.”

Dore released a statement about the heist to their own website that stated one of their managers had done something that “severely impacted the company’s interest and reputation.”

Wynn is reporting that they lost no money of their own in the heist, but their stocks have steadily dropped since news of the heist was released on Thursday. Card Player reported that Wynn’s stock has taken a 10 percent dive since the heist was reported.

The heist has also sent the stocks of other companies with casinos in Macau tumbling, as well. Barron’s Asia reported that “Melco Crown (MPEL) dropped 4.8%, MGM Resorts (MGM) fell 1.9% and Las Vegas Sands (LVS) was down 2.8%.” At this time, there are 30 casinos in Macau with more set to open in the near future.

Macau is under the control of China and the Chinese government, and China restricts the flow of money into the region. China’s economy has dealt with issues in recent weeks. Troubles with the Chinese economy sent U.S. stocks down in a big way last month. One day in August saw a drop of 1,000 points on the New York Stock Exchange before things began to climb back up. The drop had investors panicked.

The Macau heist is causing some panic in the region, as well. In 2014, a larger heist of $1.3 billion caused issues for the region. Business InsiderAustralia reported on the impact of the 2014 heist.

“A $US1.3 billion heist from junket Kimren in April 2014 zapped liquidity from the junkets. Some analysts called it Macau’s ‘Lehman Moment.’ That money has to come from somewhere and that somewhere is investors. Since Macau started to boom in the early 2000s, investors in junkets have come to expect a 1%-2% return on their investment in a high-rollers luck. When the heist happened in April 2014, investors started withdrawing their funds. Daiwa analysts think that is going to happen again.”

Daiwa’s report on this latest heist revealed that “individuals purportedly rushing to the junket (Dore) in an attempt to withdraw funds. Wynn may still face some form of bad debt in the event that the junket’s remaining capital base is unable to absorb the loss.”

Dore continues to operate its two VIP rooms inside Wynn Macau. However, the heists in the area have caused a decline in gambling revenue on the island. People don’t want to lose their money, whether it be on the gaming tables or by theft.

News of the heist is causing some Twitter users to react. Some joked about the heist.

The impact of this latest Macau casino heist is still being determined.

[Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images]