Tue, Jul 23, 6:46pm by Staff Writer
The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau of Macau released its official results of the second quarter gross gaming revenue activity in the city earlier this month, showing that the mass market sector had surpassed the VIP sector for the second straight quarter.
Calvin Ayre reports that VIP action accounted for 47.2 per cent of the gaming activity, which was a slight drop of 1.7 per cent from the first quarter of the year, while mass market gaming ticked up about 0.8 per cent over the same period.
However, some industry analysts assert that the numbers may be skewed.
The skewing of the data wasn’t intentional’ it simply didn’t take into account “table reclassification” and its lingering effects.
This was the position of several analysts, including Carlo Santarelli of Deutsche Bank Securities who said, “Reclassification activity post the full smoking ban will have a favourable effect on year-over-year mass growth rates and a conversely unfavourable effect on year-over-year VIP growth rates.”
The crux of the issue centres on Macau’s no-smoking policy in casino, which took full effect at the beginning of this year.
In 2018, smoking was banned everywhere in casinos except tableside for high rollers, but this changed January 1.
Smoking then became banned even at those tables and altered the casino landscape.
In order to appease their customers, casinos had reclassified certain mass-market gaming tables as high-roller tables last year in order to allow the gamblers to continue to smoke – and spend money.
2019 second-quarter mass gaming gross gaming revenue jumped 18.6 per cent, with Morgan Stanley Asia analyst Praveen Choudhary asserting that this was “not accurate due to reclassification.”
He explained that in the first quarter of 2019, the difference between VIP revenue reported by DICJ and the six Macau operators was $683.5 million, implying the adjusted VIP revenue growth would be -14 per cent and mass growth at +11 per cent year-on-year.
Two other changes also helped skew the numbers.
According to the DICJ report, 110 new gaming tables, as well as 516 slot machines, were added to the live inventory in the second quarter.
This was a 2 per cent increase over what was available last year in the same quarter and would have automatically resulted in changes in the revenue numbers.
— SiGMA (@iGamingSummit) July 11, 2019
Macau is considering launching a yuan-based stock market to help it diversify away from gaming, its main source of revenue, and align the territory more with China’s growth plans for the Greater Bay Area in the country’s southern region.
Macau’s Monetary Authority told Reuters in an email that it was starting feasibility studies for a securities market, including a stock market, which would “leverage Macau’s advantage to serve the country’s need,” compared with established centres Hong Kong and Shenzhen.
South China Morning Post reported in June that the former Portuguese colony and now the world’s largest casino hub, has struggled to shift its economy away from gambling, where gross gaming revenue totaled US$38 billion in 2018.
The gaming industry contributes to more than 80 per cent of government revenues.
Beijing is pushing for the special administrative region of Macau to become an international tourism destination as well as a platform for trade and business between Portuguese speaking countries and China.
“Macau has a very strong position in promoting itself as the financial service platform between the Mainland and Portuguese-speaking countries and the mentioned feasibility studies will be conducted under this context and advantages,” the Monetary Authority said.
China’s cabinet earlier this year unveiled guidelines for the Greater Bay Area around the Pearl River Delta, to spur growth in Guangdong province and the cities of Hong Kong and Macau.
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