Macau’s accumulated casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) for full-year 2017 grew by 19.1 percent compared to the tally for 2016, according to data released on Monday by the city’s regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
The city’s accumulated GGR for the 12 months of 2017 stood at MOP265.74 billion (US$33.02 billion), compared to MOP223.21 billion in 2016.
It marked the first year of GGR growth after three consecutive years of annual decline: in 2016, GGR fell 3.3 percent; in 2015, it slipped 34.3 percent; and in 2014, GGR declined by 2.6 percent year-on-year.
Macau’s GGR for December 2017 rose by 14.6 percent year-on-year, to nearly MOP22.70 billion. It meant the 17th consecutive month of year-on-year gaming revenue growth in the market.
Brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd said in Monday commentary on Macau’s December gaming performance: “We continue to voice caution about the strength (and volatility) surrounding VIP. High hold rates in VIP along with continued volume strength creates volatility and lack of ability to more accurately forecast the monthly trend.”
Analysts Vitaly Umansky, Zhen Gong and Cathy Huang added: “For January 2018, we are preliminarily estimating mid-teen percent growth.”
Brokerage Union Gaming Securities Asia Ltd stated in a Monday note it was forecasting GGR for the combined January-February period “to grow in the high teens to low twenties (against a  comparison of +11 percent spread across the two-month period).”
Analyst Grant Govertsen said: “Chinese New Year moves to mid-February in 2018 versus late-January in 2017… Even though the calendar is more difficult for January this year (one less Sunday), we would expect the growth rates for the two months to be more even than last year given that January is unlikely to experience much, if any, deferral this year.”
Union Gaming stated it was currently forecasting full year 2018 GGR growth in Macau “in the mid-teens [of percent], driven by VIP at approximately 20 percent-plus growth and mass at approximately 10 percent-plus.”
(Updated on Jan 2, 9.10am)
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