The chief executive of Macau-based casino operator MGM China Holdings Ltd, Grant Bowie (pictured in a file photo), says the performance of the Macau gaming market is likely to improve in 2020, after getting through a number of “challenges” during what is left of this year.
“We are all dependent on the marketplace, [and] I think there’s a lot of global challenges going on and Macau is not separated from those challenges,” said Mr Bowie in comments aired by public broadcaster TDM. He was speaking to local reporters on the sidelines of a public event on Tuesday.
He added: “We just have to be careful, very diligent and work hard to make sure that our customers see value from coming to Macau.”
The MGM China CEO did not clarify what challenges he was referring to in his comments to media.
The city’s casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) tally for the first eight months of 2019 stood at MOP198.22 billion (US$24.5 billion), down 1.9 percent from the prior-year period, according to the latest available data released by Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
Investment analysts have said that Macau casinos have experienced a rough market in 2019, impacted by the U.S.-China trade war and choppy trends in the VIP business.
The Macau gaming market is expected to fare better next year as business is likely to improve, said Mr Bowie on Tuesday.
“I’m still very positive [regarding] 2020. I think when we get through all of these challenges and we have some clarity, and the business starts to improve, I think Macau gaming will continue to grow,” said the MGM China CEO.
Mr Bowie said however that visitor arrivals in the remainder of the year might decline in year-on-year terms, as a number of official engagements are scheduled for the second half of the year to mark the 20th anniversary of the Macau Special Administrative Region.
“There are lot of activities going on [in the second half of 2019] but at the same time some of the official engagements might mean that some of the visitation may actually go down because of such an important time in Macau’s history,” said Mr Bowie.
More than 23.8 million visitor arrivals were recorded in Macau in the first seven months of 2019, a 20-percent increase from the prior-year period.
On Monday, Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance expressed some concern about the likely performance of Macau casino GGR in September, also suggesting Macau’s exports of services – including gaming-related services – will have seen a year-on-year contraction for the July to September period.
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Aggregate number of visitors to Macau during the Chinese New Year holiday period