Only about 26 percent of visitors to Macau admit to having gambled at the city’s casinos during their latest trip, according to a new survey released by the IFT Tourism Research Centre (ITRC) at the city’s Institute for Tourism Studies.
The findings were included in the report for the second quarter 2016 edition of the Macao Visitor Profile Survey, conducted by ITRC between April and June. The survey targeted people that had completed at least half of their visit at the time of interview.
Macau welcomed a total of 7.31 million visitors in the second quarter of 2016, a year-on-year decrease of 0.5 percent, according to data from the city’s Statistics and Census Service.
The share of visitors to Macau polled by ITRC that admit to gambling in the city’s casinos has declined in recent years. The first time the Macao Visitor Profile Survey included data on this topic was for the third quarter 2009 edition: at the time, 31 percent of respondents admitted they had, or would, gamble during their current trip to Macau. One year later, the figure had risen to 47 percent of respondents.
In each of the Macao Profile Visitor quarterly surveys for 2011, over one third of the visitors polled admitted either to having gambled, or having the intention to do so, on that particular trip.
It was only in the third quarter of 2014 – almost coinciding with the June 2014 start of a 26-month streak of year-on-year monthly declines in casino gross gaming revenue in Macau – that the percentage of visitors to Macau admitting to have gambled dropped to about a quarter. Since the start of 2014, the Macao Profile Visitor Survey has confined its study of visitors’ gambling habits to recording only those acknowledging they have already done so on that trip.
The self-declared visitor gaming participation rate – as tracked by the quarterly Macao Profile Visitor Survey – has since hovered around one quarter of the total except for the third quarter of last year, when it hit an all-time low of 19 percent.
According to the report for the second quarter 2016 edition of the Macao Visitor Profile Survey, 23 percent of those people polled that admitted to gambling in Macau said they spent more than MOP5,000 (US$625) on the activity during their latest trip in that period.
A total of 30 percent of the self-described gamblers said they had spent between MOP2,001 to MOP5,000 on gaming during their visit in the reporting period. A further 22 percent said they had wagered MOP1,001 to MOP2,000; 11 percent MOP501 to MOP1,000; and 14 percent under MOP501.
A total of 1,030 visitors were questioned on a range of tourism-related topics in the second quarter 2016 Macau survey. The majority came from mainland China (68 percent), Hong Kong (17 percent) and Taiwan (8 percent).
Only around 8 percent of the respondents from mainland China and 8 percent of respondents from Taiwan stated respectively that gambling was the most attractive factor when deciding to visit Macau for leisure or a holiday. A total of 19 percent of Hong Kong visitors polled gave gambling as the motivation, the survey showed.
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Vitaly Umansky, Louis Li and Shirley Yang
Analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein