Iao Kun Group Holding Co Ltd – an investor in VIP junket gambling operations in casinos – does not expect high-roller turnover in Macau to rebound during 2016.
“With a difficult 2015 behind us and with the expectation that 2016 will also be a challenging year for VIP gaming in Macau, we continue to prudently manage our capital to ensure we will be appropriately positioned when the market turns around,” company chairman Lam Man Pou said in a statement on Friday.
He added: “At the same time, we continue to source additional VIP opportunities in overseas markets to allow us to further diversify our revenue streams.”
Iao Kun’s business partners promote five high-roller facilities in Macau casinos. The Nasdaq-listed firm also has junket business in Australia, at Crown Perth’s casino and at Crown Melbourne’s casino. The two venues are operated by Crown Resorts Ltd.
Iao Kun posted net income of US$12.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared to net income of US$5.7 million for the same period of 2014. The fourth quarter results and the full-year 2015 results were positively impacted by a change in fair value of contingent consideration related to three profit sharing deals signed between 2010 and 2013.
Rolling chip turnover for the three months ended December 31, 2015 – a number previously announced by the firm – was US$1.2 billion, a decrease of 57 percent in year-on-year terms.
Iao Kun recorded revenue of US$19.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2015, a 64 percent decrease from the same period of 2014. The company said the decline was related to “a decrease of players for VIP baccarat, consistent with the overall decline of gaming revenue in Macau; the economic downturn and ongoing anti-corruption campaign in mainland China, where the majority of Iao Kun’s VIP gaming patrons reside; and the continued tightening of government policies in mainland China, including restrictions on credit card usage.”
“In terms of our Australian profit interests in junket operations for the Crown Perth and Crown Melbourne casinos… operations remain ongoing, as we gained additional knowledge about preferences of our junket agents and VIP players,” said Iao Kun’s director James Preissler, in a conference call with analysts following Friday’s result announcement. “For the fourth quarter, we generated nominal revenues equal to our cost[s] in Australia,” he added.
For full-year 2015, the firm recorded rolling chip turnover of US$6.4 billion, a decrease of 61 percent in year-on-year terms. Net income for 2015 – including gains from changes in fair value – was US$5.1 million, compared to a net loss of US$60.1 million in 2014.
Market-wide in Macau, gross gaming revenue from VIP baccarat – the city’s main gauge for the VIP gaming segment – decreased by 36 percent in year-on-year terms in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to data from the Macau casino regulator. For full year 2015, VIP baccarat revenue was down 40 percent from 2014.
Iao Kun provided, in its Friday disclosures, guidance for investors regarding the likely rolling chip turnover during 2016 at its five current VIP rooms in Macau. It said such turnover is expected to be between US$3.5 billion and US$4.5 billion. For the first two months of the year, Iao Kun’s aggregate rolling chip turnover was US$0.81 billion, an average of US$0.41 billion per month, down 44 percent in year-on-year terms.
Mr Preissler said: “We do see stability in the market but it’s hard to really predict a continued uptick.”
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Vice-chairman and chief executive at Macau casino operator SJM Holdings