Casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Macau fell by 21.4 percent year-on-year in January to MOP18.67 billion (US$2.33 billion), extending to 20 months the local industry’s revenue decline, data from the city’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau showed on Monday.
It follows a December tally that fell 21.2 percent year-on-year to MOP18.34 billion.
Last year casino revenue fell by 34.3 percent to MOP230.84 billion from 2014, according to official data. It was the second consecutive year of revenue decline since the liberalisation of the industry in 2002.
Investment analysts were expecting a year-on-year fall of up to 23 percent in January, basing their estimates on unofficial industry returns. They were expecting the average daily revenues (ADR) to grow sequentially, but still “slightly lower than the historical average of +5 percent month-on-month for the month of January,” said a note from Wells Fargo Securities LLC before the official results were announced.
The brokerage additionally said it expects lower revenues ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday period, which this year starts on February 7.
“We note that historically Macau gaming revenues declined in the weeks leading up to the [Chinese] New Year holiday. Last year, for example, ADR fell 15 percent sequentially in the two week period before Chinese New Year, and -8 percent sequentially the year before that,” said Wells Fargo analysts Cameron McKnight, Daniel Adam and Robert Shore.
Sheldon Adelson, chairman and chief executive of Macau casino operator Sands China Ltd, said last week the city’s gaming industry is showing signs of stabilisation. The casino firm – the first of the city’s casino licensees to report its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings – showed its net income decreased 29.3 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2015.
On a conference call with investment analysts following the company results announcement, Mr Adelson said, “We do see stabilisation in gaming revenue trends [in Macau].”
A number of analysts think that casino GGR for mass-market play in Macau could not only stabilise in 2016 but possibly move into positive territory this year, boosting the city’s entire casino industry.
VIP baccarat GGR market wide in Macau fell by 39.9 percent year-on-year for the full-year of 2015, while mass-market gambling – including play from slot machines – declined by 25.9 percent for the full year, according to official data.
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