Casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Macau rose by 16.1 percent year-on-year in September, to MOP21.36 billion (US$2.65 billion), according to data from the city’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, also known by its Portuguese-language acronym DICJ, released on Sunday. It marked the 14th consecutive month of year-on-year GGR growth in the market.
For the third quarter of 2017 judged as a whole, casino GGR rose 21.8 percent year-on-year to MOP67 billion, compared to the prior-year quarter.
“For the third quarter 2017, we believe DICJ -reported VIP GGR will be up approximately 38 percent (versus second quarter +35 percent) with mass tables and slots up approximately 6 percent (second quarter +9 percent),” wrote analysts Carlo Santarelli and Danny Valoy of Deutsche Bank Securities Inc, in a Sunday note.
“On a company-reported basis, we expect VIP growth of approximately 34 percent with mass growth of approximately 10 percent,” they added.
They were referring latterly to a difference between the market split as reported by the gaming bureau and that reported by Macau’s six licensed gaming operators. Some investment analysts have linked this phenomenon to so-called “table reclassification” by operators in order to allow tableside smoking by players under Macau’s current regime for smoking in casino premises.
The latest monthly GGR result meant the Macau market’s tally for the first nine months of 2017 stood at nearly MOP193.38 billion, up 18.8 percent from the prior-year period, according to the official data.
Several investment brokerages had predicted last week that September would be the second consecutive month to register a slowing of Macau GGR expansion judged in year-on-year terms, relative to the trend up to July.
But analysts DS Kim and Sean Huang of JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd said in a Sunday memo: “We believe the sharp GGR deceleration during the third quarter (from +29 percent in July, to +16 percent in September) was purely driven by the VIP segment, with no sign of slowdown in mass.”
“For the fourth quarter 2017, we are now forecasting GGR growth of approximately 17 percent, which implies approximately 5 percent sequential quarterly growth,” stated Deutsche Bank’s Mr Santarelli and Mr Valoy in their note.
(Updated 3pm, October 2)
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Lei Wai Nong
Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance