Casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Macau rose by 10.3 percent year-on-year in July, to MOP25.33 billion (US$3.13 billion), according to data from the city’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, released on Wednesday.
July’s GGR tally was up 12.6 percent month-on-month.
Several investment analysts had forecast year-on-year growth for July of at least 11 percent.
“We view this result favorably as the month faced three headwinds,” Union Gaming Securities Asia Ltd analyst Grant Govertsen said in a Wednesday note. “The calendar was unfavorable with one fewer Sunday; July had the toughest comp of the year… and while we believe it was a small impact, the more interesting second half of the World Cup played out during the first two weeks of July.”
The latter was a reference to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, an international soccer tournament in Russia, held from mid-June to mid-July, that some analysts had suggested had a dampening effect on Macau casino gambling demand.
Macau market’s GGR tally for the first seven months of 2018 stood at MOP175.54 billion, up 17.5 percent from the prior-year period, according to the official data.
Brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd said in a Wednesday memo it expected Macau’s casino market to post year-on-year GGR growth of between 15 percent and 17 percent this month.”August this year has one less Saturday than last year,” noted analysts Vitaly Umansky, Zhen Gong and Kelsey Zhu.
Union Gaming’s Mr Govertsen said the brokerage expected year-on-year GGR growth of almost 14 percent in August. “The weather comp is very easy in that August of last year saw the catastrophic Typhoon Hato, which was followed one week later by Typhoon Pakhar. These two weather events took a big bite out of GGR last year,” he added.
Typhoon Hato was the strongest storm to hit Macau in 53 years. It struck the city on August 23, 2017 with wind speeds of 200 kilometres per hour (124 mph), leading to 10 deaths in the city and widespread damage to infrastructure that disrupted the city’s tourism industry for more than a week afterwards.
A number of gaming resorts reported having partially to reduce their operations following the storm. Three gaming venues – casino hotel Legend Palace, casino hotel Broadway Macau and Mocha Inner Harbour, a slot club promoted by Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd – had their operations suspended for several days, due to damage caused by the typhoon.
(Updated at 3:30pm, August 1)
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