Shares in James Packer’s Crown casinos are taking a hit

AARON TAM / AFP / Getty Images

Shares in billionaire James Packer’s Crown Resorts were sliding after report that a cap has been put on ATM withdrawals in Macau.

A short time ago, the shares were down 6% to $11.29.

The South China Morning Post reported that China UnionPay plans to cut in half the amount its card holders can withdraw from ATMs from Saturday.

The move, to reduce the daily withdrawal limit to 5,000 Macao patacas from 10,000, is part of China’s crackdown on gambling, the newspaper says.

Crown’s revenue from its Macau assets has suffered from the crackdown. And 18 of its employees have been arrested on the mainland as China moves against companies marketing gambling.

Packer’s private company, Consolidated Press Holdings, has 48.2% of Crown.

Crown’s profits were down 22% to $406.2 million in 2016, dragged down by “challenging market conditions” in Macau.

The struggling Macau business will be isolated when Crown is split from the cash machine of the Australian casinos and associated property holdings.

A demerger will pull together the Melbourne and Perth casinos, a planned resort in Sydney and online gaming.

A separate company would then own some of the Crown Resorts’ international investments and provide exposure to the gaming markets of Macau, Las Vegas and the UK, plus a 20% interest in Nobu restaurants.