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Why did Studio City stock soar? Macau gaming license renewals could be a positive

Studio City International Holdings Limited (NYSE:MSC) was the biggest gainers in the consumer discretionary sector on Monday after the six current Macau casino operators were awarded new licenses to continue running their businesses in the gambling mecca.

The new licenses are expected to take effect at the beginning of 2023 and run for a maximum term of 10 years. Regulators will negotiate final terms before the licenses go into effect on January 1. The awarding of the licenses came with commitment from casino operators to help the local economy. "The operation and development of our gaming industry has come to a certain scale today, but there are also some problems," noted Secretary for Administration and Justice Cheong Weng Chon. "

The early word from analysts is that MSC may benefit from the increase in non-gaming investments in the region.

The company is already making a growth push with Studio City Phase 2 set to offer approximately 900 additional luxury hotel rooms and suites, an additional indoor/outdoor water park which is expected to be one of the largest in the world, a Cineplex, multiple fine-dining restaurants, and a total of approximately 1.1K square meters of MICE space. The planned expansion will also feature a hotel tower under the W Hotel brand in partnership with Marriott International.

Shares of Studio City skyrocketed 35.47% in Monday morning trading to $2.75 vs. the 52-week trading range of $1.52 to $7.48. Melco Resorts & Entertainment Limited (MLCO), which is the largest shareholder of MSC, rose 7.97%.