Casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Macau’s VIP segment expanded by 21.9 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to data released on Tuesday by the local regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
VIP baccarat GGR in the three months to December 31 was approximately MOP40.64 billion (US$5.04 billion) compared to MOP33.33 billion in the prior-year period.
For full-year 2017, VIP baccarat GGR was approximately MOP150.67 billion, up 26.7 percent on the MOP118.96 billion registered in full-year 2016.
In the breakdown of fourth-quarter 2017, VIP baccarat revenue as a proportion of all casino GGR in the period stood at 56.2 percent. In the equivalent quarter a year earlier it had been 55.2 percent.
Mass-market gambling, including play from slot machines, was MOP31.73 billion in the three months to December 31, a rise of 17.1-percent year-on-year on the MOP27.09 billion in fourth quarter 2016.
Mass-market GGR – including slots – for the full year was MOP115.07 billion, up 10.4 percent compared to the MOP104.25-billion tally in 2016.
Brokerage Union Gaming Securities Asia Ltd said in a note on Tuesday that the latest quarterly results were “likely well outside of investor expectations, which were likely expecting a continuation of VIP [circa] +30 percent and mass [about] +10 percent”.
Analyst Grant Govertsen said in the memo: “A very small part of the VIP deceleration in fourth quarter 2017 can be attributed to the low VIP win rate (aka bad luck) in December. We would attribute another part of the change in growth velocities to a clear resurgence in the lower tiers of mass market as we’ve witnessed a significant uptick in low-end patrons.”
He added: “Finally, we could also be witnessing an unwinding of the reclassification of table games in advance of the new smoking law.”
Macau’s Legislative Assembly approved on July 14 a revised bill on smoking that bans tableside tobacco use in VIP rooms. Although the new rules apply from January 1, 2018, tableside smoking at VIP rooms will in effect be able to continue until January 1, 2019, as casinos have been given a year’s grace period to set up VIP smoking lounges.
According to the official data released on Tuesday, GGR from slot machines was approximately MOP3.63 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017, up 18.5 percent on the MOP3.06 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016. For full-year 2017, slot revenue was approximately MOP13.16 billion, up 15.6 percent on the MOP11.38 billion achieved in calendar year 2016.
Revenue from live multi game products – those featuring table-style games with live dealers but electronic betting and electronic bet settlement – was MOP624 million for the fourth quarter 2017, a decrease of nearly 1 percent on the MOP630 million recorded in fourth-quarter 2016.
Live multi game revenue for calendar year 2017 was approximately MOP2.43 billion, an increase of 3.4 percent compared to the MOP2.35 billion achieved in 2016.
Macau’s accumulated casino GGR for full-year 2017 grew by 19.1 percent compared to the tally for 2016, according to data released by the gaming regulator on January 1. Gaming revenue for the 12 months of 2017 stood at MOP265.74 billion, compared to MOP223.21 billion in 2016.
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”The Macau government is not aiming to trivialise or drive out the junket sector, but to regulate the sector so that it would not hurt Macau’s reputation”
Alvin Chau Cheok Wa
Chief executive of privately-held VIP junket business Suncity Group