Casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Macau could expand by 10 percent year-on-year in 2017 says a note from investment research firm Morningstar Inc.
Up to the end of August, the cumulative year-on-year gain in the market for 2017 stood at 19.1 percent, according to data from the regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, also known as DICJ.
“Industry GGR comparisons will become progressively tougher over the next few months (as last year’s Sands and Wynn casino openings are lapped), and a slower economy in the second half and capital-control policy risks could create near-term headwinds,” said the note from analyst Chelsey Tam.
She was referring first to the opening of two Cotai resorts: the Parisian Macao by Sands China Ltd in September last year, and Wynn Palace by Wynn Macau Ltd in late August 2016. Her second reference was to the possibility for policy changes at local or central government level to moderate the volume of money from mainland China flowing through Macau and its casinos.
In May the Macau government announced that holders of mainland China-issued UnionPay Co Ltd bank cards that wished to use them at Macau automated teller machines (ATMs) would in future have to present their identity card and pass a facial recognition scan to be able to withdraw cash. By June 29, the city had 680 facial-recognition ATMs in operation, according to a government press statement issued that day.
Regarding the outlook for Macau GGR for the rest of the calendar year, analyst David Katz of Telsey Advisory Group LLC said in a Friday note: “The comparisons will continue to increase through the remainder of the year until at least the opening of MGM Cotai which we believe is still expected in fourth quarter 2017.” That was a reference to a new Macau gaming resort promoted by MGM China Holdings Ltd.
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“The licensing process is still under way for all non-gaming amenities at Grand Lisboa Palace”
Macao Government Tourism Office