Premium-mass segment wagers observed in banking institution Citigroup’s September snapshot survey of Macau gaming floors were down circa 8 percent month-on-month at about HKD8.8 million (US$1.1 million), it said in a Sunday memo.
The total of so-called premium mass players – high-denomination cash bettors – seen by Citigroup also fell by 7.9 percent, to 431, versus 468 in its August survey, stated analysts George Choi and Ryan Cheung.
JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd had estimated in a note last week, that the daily run rate for Macau gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the first 10 days of September was down about 21.8 percent on the daily run rate for August. That coincided with a super typhoon in the first week of September – which saw a temporary closure of Macau casino floors as well as suspension of public transport – and heavy rains the following week.
Though Citigroup stated in its commentary on its snapshot survey: “None of the premium mass players we saw seem to be bothered by the current state of the Chinese economy or the weather.”
The institution said the “average wager/player” it observed this month “defies seasonality” and held up month-on-month, at approximately HKD20,314, which the bank described as an “astonishing circa 58 percent higher versus September 2019”, i.e., pre-Covid-19.
“We believe the strength observed in September 2023 can be largely attributed to the abundance of whales,” stated the bank.
There were 17 “whales” observed in Citigroup’s September survey – players with bets of HKD100,000 per hand or more – versus seven in its September 2019 survey.
What Citigroup termed its ‘player of the month’ was witnessed at the Chairman’s Club, at Wynn Palace on Cotai, “wagering HKD500,000”.
At the Horizon Premium Club room – a gaming space within the tower hosting the Raffles at the Galaxy Macau resort – Citigroup saw two whales and 15 other players, wagering an aggregate of HKD980,000 at a single table.
The bank indicated that its observations indicated that market-wide average minimum bets across Macau “continue to rise”. It suggested there had been a 2.9 percent gain month-on-month, at HKD2,123 in September, versus HKD2,063 in August, “implying that player quality at the grind mass areas… is improving”.
Nonetheless, the bank said its pre-Covid era surveys indicated overall September performance in Macau tended to decline month-on-month, “reflecting the fact that September is sandwiched between the summer holidays and the National Day Golden Week in early October”.
China’s State Council has designated September 29 to October 6 inclusive as the holiday season known as October Golden Week. This time, the period encompasses the lunar-calendar based Mid-Autumn Festival, falling on September 29 this year, and China’s National Day on October 1.
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