Casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Macau rose by 36.4 percent year-on-year in January to MOP26.26 billion (US$3.26 billion), according to data from the city’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau released on Thursday.
Macau casino GGR in January recorded the highest year-on-year growth rate since February 2014, according to official data.
“Macau January GGR … [was] much stronger than original expectation and well above consensus (27 percent year-on-year),” brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd said in a Thursday note.
“Average daily revenue [ADR] for the month was MOP847 million (16 percent above December ADR of MOP732 million) and only 1 percent below October (the busiest month of the year),” it added.
Several investment analysts had estimated in respective notes issued prior to the official announcement that January’s GGR expansion would be in the range of 25 percent to 30 percent year-on-year.
Brokerage JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd said in a Thursday note that January was a “great month for both VIP and mass” segments.
“Based on our checks, we estimate VIP GGR was up 50 percent year-on-year (versus 22 percent year-on-year in fourth quarter) and mass GGR was +22 percent to 24 percent year-on-year (versus +17 percent year-on-year in fourth quarter), both of which showed big accelerations from recent trends and beat recent expectations, partly helped by easy comps (given Chinese New Year calendar shift) and VIP luck,” said the JP Morgan analysts.
The casino revenue tally for January 2017 was the smallest of full year 2017, at approximately MOP19.26 billion, with an average daily rate 15 percent below the full-year 2017 average daily rate, according to investment analysts.
Revenue in January 2017 might have been negatively impacted by the timing of the Chinese New Year holiday period in that year, noted the analysts. The Chinese New Year period in 2018 falls on Friday, February 16, later than it did last year, when it started on January 28.
“With the first few days of Chinese New Year typically spent with family (not gambling), we do not expect the pre-Chinese New Year lull that negatively impacted GGR in late January last year to repeat [in January 2018],” Japanese brokerage Nomura said in a note on January 21.
In full-year 2017, Macau’s casino GGR tally stood at MOP265.74 billion, an increase of 19.1 percent compared to 2016, according to official data. 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.
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”China has been strengthening the control over capital flow, and the impact of that has already been reflected [on Macau’s gaming revenue trend]. There should not be any bigger impact from the new… legislation [on the mainland] … on the gaming revenue trend here”
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President of Macau casino operator Sands China