The Saipan casino operation of Imperial Pacific International Holdings Ltd achieved in June rolling chip volume of nearly US$1.66 billion, the firm said on Sunday in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Imperial Pacific has the right to a casino licence on Saipan, the main island of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; an unincorporated, dependent, Pacific Ocean territory of the United States. The firm has been operating a temporary casino on Saipan since November.
Union Gaming Securities Asia Ltd analyst Grant Govertsen said on Friday regarding Macau’s June gross gaming revenue (GGR) numbers: “While we think most of the incremental VIP softness can be lumped into a bucket that includes factors like anti-corruption and economic weakness, it is getting harder to ignore the likely impact of jurisdictions like Saipan.”
The Macau government doesn’t report data for rolling chip volume in the Macau casino market. The split between VIP and mass-market gambling regarding another measure of industry performance, casino gross gaming revenue, is only reported in Macau on a quarterly basis some time after the end of each quarter.
Union Gaming’s Friday note said that even the equivalent of a few basis points of Macau casino VIP roll could translate to tens of millions of U.S. dollars in casino GGR.
Mr Govertsen wrote: “A rolling chip volume of approximately US$2.5 billion per month translates to an expected GGR of US$71 million. Assuming this is play that otherwise would have gone to Macau, the Macau GGR story in June would have been 330 basis points better (or a decline of just 5.2 percent).”
Macau casino GGR in June declined 8.5 percent year-on-year according to official data released on Friday. It was the lowest monthly tally since September 2010, although Union Gaming noted that Macau’s higher margin mass-market table games and electronic games business is likely in June to have recorded “low/mid single digit growth”.
With regard to persistent weakness in the VIP segment, a number of investment analysts have previously suggested casino jurisdictions near Macau – including the Philippines – have benefited in particular from a rise in high-stakes proxy betting by Chinese players.
On May 6, the Macau government announced that the use of telephones by those sitting at VIP gambling tables in the city’s casinos would be banned with effect from May 9.
A report from Morgan Stanley group, issued in mid-June, noted: “Regions outside of Macau are being helped by new casino openings (Vladivostok and Saipan) and better junket terms.”
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