Macau Casino market shows first signs of rebound
The first signs of a recovery in the Asian gambling mecca of Macau have emerged with a a 1.1 per cent rise in gambling revenue in August.
Gambling revenue in Macau has been declining month on month since May 2014, with a Chinese government crackdown on corruption cited as the main source for the decline as well as a slowdown in the overall growth of the Chinese economy.
But the opening of Wynn Macau’s $US4 billion resort has seen a small revival in fortunes in the only place in China where casino gambling is legal.
Revenue was boosted by improved overall visitation with a new focus on the mass market as opposed to the high roller/VIP market.
Government data showed August revenue at $2.4 billion, a small growth on the previous month despite expectations that it would continue to fall.
But experts aren’t betting on a sudden revival in Macau, despite the massive investment in the former Portuguese colony from developments such as Wynn Macau, Melco Crown and Galaxy Entertainment.
Gaming revenue makes up 80 per cent of the Macau’s government overall revenue.
Already regulators are restricting the amount of new gaming tables in Macau with many of them left empty by the decline in the casino market and the government wanting to attract more tourist dollars in preference to gambling dollars.
Sheldon Adelson, whose Parisian Resort opens next week, and Steve Wynn have both been left with fewer gaming tables at their new projects than they would have hoped.
Both received just 150 tables each, with Adelson previously indicating he wanted at least 250 at his new venue.
The James Packer led Melco Crown project received approval for 250 tables last year along with that at Galaxy Entertainment Group.
“While the government says the number of new tables is determined on an individual basis by each project’s offerings, we cannot help but think the table grant might be driven more by the timing of opening and the industry’s then operating environment,” DS Kim, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg.