Macau’s casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) contracted 3.4 percent year-on-year in calendar year 2019. That is according to data released on Wednesday by the local regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, a body also known as DICJ.
The year closed with December GGR that slipped 13.7 percent from a year earlier, to nearly MOP22.84 billion (US$2.84 billion), the steepest decline in a month this year. During December, China’s leader, President Xi Jinping, had visited the city. The lead-up to his arrival had coincided with heightened security around Macau and reportedly tighter controls on visas to the city for the mainland China consumer segment.
The December numbers helped put the full-year ones firmly into negative territory. Calendar-year GGR was approximately MOP292.46 billion, compared to MOP302.85 billion for 2018.
Fourth-quarter data on the relative contribution to Macau GGR from the VIP segment versus the mass segment, won’t be available until a later date.
But data for the third quarter showed a 22.5-percent year-on-year decline in high-roller GGR, and investment analysts had mentioned VIP decline as being the main factor in overall Macau gaming retrenchment in 2019.
Year-end commentary from a number of brokerages has indicated that the second half of 2020 might see an improvement in the VIP gambling segment.
The full-year 2019 numbers were also coming off the back of significant 2018 expansion, when GGR rose 14 percent year-on-year.
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"The most worrying [thing] is whether [mainland] China will again tighten the issuance of travel visas [for visits to Macau]"
Luiz Lam Kai Kuong
Macau junket investor