Banking institution Citigroup says it has observed an “all-survey high” in terms of average wager per gambling patron in the Macau premium mass segment. The amount was HKD29,633 (US$3,784) based on its latest monthly check of Macau casino floors conducted on Thursday (October 5).
It marked the penultimate day of this year’s autumn Golden Week holiday period as designated by the authorities in mainland China. The 2023 festivities actually lasted eight days, encompassing the lunar calendar-based Mid-Autumn Festival on September 29, and China’s National Day, on October 1.
Citigroup started its premium mass play monthly survey six years ago, though had to pause it during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In its latest monthly review, the institution said the aggregate of premium mass wagers its team observed was HKD15.1 million, only circa 3 percent lower than another “all-survey high” of HKD15.5 million registered during Chinese New Year in February 2019, in the last year of uninterrupted business prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Citigroup anlaysts George Choi and Ryan Cheung said in a Friday memo: “Note that it took a total of 928 premium mass players seen in February 2019 to reach the circa HKD15.5 million total wager observed.
“This is a stark contrast to this month’s numbers: 508 players were seen wagering an aggregate of approximately HKD15.1 million.”
The October 2023 strength was “largely attributable to the abundance of whales”, high-value players that Citigroup designates as wagering at least HKD100,000 per hand.
Citigroup’s October ‘whale count’ was an “all-survey high, at 33”. That was “six more than the previous high of 27 seen in February 2019″, coinciding with the Chinese New Year festivities that calendar year.
Citigroup’s latest survey “shows that the quality of the whales has significantly improved,” suggested the analysts.
“Among the 33 whales we saw in October 2023, the average wager was HKD191,364. This is circa 21 percent higher versus October 2019 (23 whales, average wager at circa HKD157,739),” wrote Mr Choi and Mr Cheung.
Citigroup discerned that a number of Macau casino operators were more or less “evenly split” in terms of market share of premium mass wager, with Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd leading at 25 percent, followed by Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd at 23 percent, Wynn Macau Ltd on 20 percent, and Sands China Ltd with 19 percent.
A GGRAsia survey of mass floors on Thursday indicated that at the middle part of the base-mass market, bets of HKD2,000 per hand had been a popular choice at that stage of Golden Week.
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