Casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Macau rose by 2.8 percent year-on-year in September, to MOP21.95 billion (US$2.72 billion), according to data released on Monday by the city’s gaming regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
Several investment analysts had last week predicted year-on-year growth for September of about 10 percent. Their forecasts were reduced by a handful of percentage points – compared to initial estimates for the month – in the wake of Typhoon Mangkhut. The storm – the world’s most powerful typhoon so far this year according to meteorologists – struck the city over the weekend of September 15 and 16.
Brokerages covering the Macau gaming sector noted that the physical damage from Typhoon Mangkhut had been “immaterial” to Macau casinos, despite the city authorities imposing a precautionary closure of all casinos, an industry first in the modern era of the sector.
Macau’s main casino properties were all back to business as of the morning of Monday, September 17, according to GGRAsia’s own checks at the time
The latest monthly GGR result meant the Macau market’s tally for the first nine months of 2018 stood at nearly MOP224.06 billion, up 15.9 percent from the prior-year period, according to the official data.
A Monday note from brokerage Union Gaming Securities Asia Ltd said September’s GGR expansion represented a “miss” compared to market consensus of +6 percent growth based on a sample range of +2 percent to +12 percent.
“The typhoon and post-typhoon impacted exceeded our initial expectations, which we attribute in part to a much more severe impact to Hong Kong while Macau was relatively spared,” wrote analyst Grant Govertsen. He was eferring to Typhoon Mangkhut in mid-month, and the importance to Macau of the weekend tourist trade either originating from neighbouring Hong Kong, or transiting from mainland China via Hong Kong.
Carlo Santarelli and Danny Valoy of Deutsche Bank Securities Inc said in a Monday memo the September GGR result was “as expected” given the venue closures wrought by the typhoon.
“The results were in line with our forecast and slightly better than… feared,” added the analysts.
Analysts DS Kim and Sean Zhuang at JP Morgan Securities Asia Pacific Ltd, suggested in their Monday memo – citing channel checks – that VIP GGR had declined by around 5 percent year-on-year in September, whereas mass-market play probably rose by circa 10 percent.
“Even considering the typhoon impact, we acknowledge VIP trends have softened incrementally and the overall tone of our junket contacts is getting more cautious (even versus few weeks ago), with most citing weakening ‘gambler confidence’ amid macro uncertainty,” stated the institution.
Meanwhile Japanese brokerage Nomura estimated on Monday that Macau’s October GGR would grow by 5 percent to 10 percent year-on-year.
“Typhoons and pre-holiday travel routines tend to interrupt visitation for short periods, but they do not change underlying demand trends in the medium to long term,” stated its analysts.
(Updated 9.30am, Oct 2)
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China