Macau’s casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) for August fell by 6.1 percent year-on-year to MOP28.9 billion (US$3.6 billion), the city’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau said on Monday.
It was the first time in more than five years that monthly casino GGR fell in year-on-year terms for three consecutive months. It dropped by 3.7 percent in June, followed by a 3.6 percent decrease in July.
The last period monthly GGR declined for consecutive months was between December 2008 and June 2009, shortly after the financial crisis erupted in the United States.
Macau’s accumulated total casino gaming revenue for the eight months to August 31 is MOP250.4 billion, a year-on-year growth of 8.1 percent, said the city’s gaming regulator.
Commenting on the results for August, Credit Suisse AG in Hong Kong said information provided by junkets agents and operators hinted the transit visa restriction “imposed a more adverse impact than originally expected”.
It added: “VIP players, and to a certain extent, premium mass players as well, encountered an increasing inconvenience in accessing Macau, lowering their incentive to visit Macau.”
Union Gaming Research Macau Ltd’s Grant Govertsen said “the VIP segment remains weak, which we believe is driven by a confluence of factors with the largest driver being the broader PRC anti-corruption crackdown”. He added that mass market GGR in August exhibited year-on-year growth in the “mid-high teens”.
The recent declines in GGR and other negative news coming out of Macau’s casino industry is putting off investors, brokerage firm Nomura noted last week.
Fresh protests by Macau casino workers against their employers are also adding to investor disquiet.
The lacklustre performance of the city’s gaming industry is impacting Macau’s gross domestic product. GDP increased 8.1 percent in real terms (adjusted for inflation) in the three months through June from a year earlier. That was slower than the 12.4 percent growth for the previous three months, the city’s Statistics and Census Service said, adding the slowdown was largely a result of a drop in gaming contribution.
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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