Mass-market games including slot machines provided 74.3 percent of all Macau’s casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the fourth quarter of 2021, at nearly MOP14.18 billion (US$1.77 billion), according to data released on Monday by the city’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
The contribution of the mass segment was a record quarterly high since the market-liberalisation era at the start of the current century, according to official data.
VIP baccarat, which in 2019 represented nearly half of all Macau GGR, accounted for 25.7 percent of the city’s casino GGR in the three months to December 31, at just below MOP4.90 billion. In the third quarter, the VIP segment accounted for 31.8 percent of all casino GGR.
Revenue from the VIP segment contracted 17.8 percent quarter-on-quarter, while revenue in mass-market baccarat rose by 12.3 percent sequentially.
Mass-market baccarat alone made up 62.2 percent of all GGR for the final quarter of 2021, or MOP11.87 billion in money terms. Slot machines accounted for MOP1.15 billion, or 6.0 percent of GGR.
For full-year 2021, VIP revenue accounted for nearly 32.8 percent of aggregate casino GGR, at MOP28.49 billion. That was down from a 43.5-percent market share in the prior year, according to official data.
A number of industry observers has noted that the VIP segment has been placed recently under further commercial pressure, due to a combination of regulatory and pandemic-related factors.
Macau’s casino junket sector has been in the spotlight since the detention in Macau of Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, and the shutdown of his junket brand Suncity Group, described previously by investment analysts as the largest VIP operator in the city.
Following the closure of all Suncity Group VIP rooms in Macau on December 1, it was reported that a number of the city’s casino concessionaires were to cease collaboration with other junket brands. Wynn Macau Ltd and Melco Resorts Entertainment Ltd confirmed last month that junkets had ceased operations at their respective properties in Macau.
A recently-announced bill to amend Macau’s gaming law, also addresses fresh regulation for the city’s VIP gaming promoters, also known as junkets, as well as their collaborators, said on Friday André Cheong Weng Chon, spokesperson for Macau’s Executive Council, at a briefing on the bill.
“For instance, there will be an explicit ban made against the sharing of casino revenue – in any form or agreement – between VIP gaming promoters and the [gaming] concessionaires,” Mr Cheong stated. There would also be an explicit “ban” on contracting a gaming zone “within a casino” for the use of VIP gaming promoters, he added.
Regulations and licensing requirements for junkets would be formed via a piece of law, rather than via administrative regulation, said the official.
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