Gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Macau fell 48.6 percent year-on-year in February – including the normally strong trading period of the Chinese New Year holiday – to MOP19.5 billion (US$2.4 billion). It is the first time in four years Macau’s monthly gaming revenue tally stood below MOP20 billion, according to official data.
The figures were given on Tuesday by the city’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. Analysts had been expecting a year-on-year decline of as much as 50 percent for February.
The latest result means accumulated GGR for the first two months of 2015 stands 35.1 percent lower than in the same period in 2014, at MOP43.3 billion.
It also extends to nine months the period of consecutive monthly year-on-year decline in Macau gaming revenue.
“Today’s results won’t provide many answers in regards to what happened in February. However, over the coming weeks and through the course of March there will be greater insight into the composition of February’s GGR (mass vs VIP) and whether or not the February results represent a new baseline,” said a note from Union Gaming Research Macau Ltd analysts Grant Govertsen and Felicity Chiang.
The February GGR numbers were against the background of a difficult comparison, because in February 2014, GGR grew by 40.3 percent year-on-year.
The Macau Government Tourist Office said on Thursday that during what it described as “Chinese New Year golden week” visitor arrivals to Macau numbered 1,028,559 (including non-resident workers and students), according to preliminary statistics.
It said that was a slight decrease of 2.4 percent over the corresponding period last year. Of the total, 74 percent, a total of 760,623 people, were visitors from the mainland. The mainland component of visitors decreased by 2 percentage points over the corresponding period in 2014, when Chinese New Year straddled the end of January and the beginning of February.
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”I do not believe that this event [the collapse of a under-construction building in Sihanoukville] will slow down the issuance of [gaming] licences. Market forces will probably dictate the process as developers evaluate projected future demand for gaming in the region”
Senior partner at business consultancy Global Market Advisors