Macau’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) for October fell 23.2 percent year-on-year, said the city’s casino regulator on Tuesday.
According to publicly available data reviewed by GGRAsia, the October GGR decline is the biggest year-on-year monthly drop since the Macau government started to issue GGR data in its current form in 2005.
A decline of at least 21 percent had been forecast last week by several analysts.
The total revenue from all casino games in October amounted to approximately MOP28.03 billion (US$3.5 billion), compared to nearly MOP36.48 billion in the period a year earlier. Judged month-on-month, the October tally was up 9.6 percent on MOP25.56 billion achieved in September.
The city’s aggregate GGR for the 10 months to October 31 is 2.3 percent up on the same period a year ago, said Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. The 2014 total to October 31 is approximately MOP303.97 billion, compared to MOP297.11 billion a year earlier.
A fall of more than 20 percent for October measured year-on-year had been widely trailed in advance of the official announcement by the city’s gaming regulator. Those heralding the numbers included one of Macau’s most senior officials, Francis Tam Pak Yuen, the Secretary for Economy and Finance.
On Monday, Mr Tam told local media that as well as an October fall of “more than 20 percent”, some level of year-on-year slowdown would continue for “a period of time”.
October has traditionally been seen as a peak period for Macau’s casino industry, because it coincides with the National Day ‘Golden Week’ holiday in mainland China, when crowds flock to Macau. That also happened this year.
Total visitor arrivals during the first seven days of October rose 16.1 percent from a year earlier, the Macau Government Tourist Office said. But the extra visitors didn’t translate into extra casino revenue.
Investment analysts have highlighted a combination of factors as reasons for the Macau gaming slowdown – including the corruption crackdown on the mainland, reduced liquidity in the Chinese economy and a reduction in the number of transit visas available for VIP players wishing to visit Macau.
Additionally, the seasonal spikes seen in the Macau casino industry could become a thing of the past, as the central government seeks to smooth some of the volatility from the Chinese economy.
Beijing in September signalled it planned to introduce a system of paid annual leave for Chinese workers. That would replace the mass exodus approach seen under the previously centrally planned holiday calendar, when many factories used to shut down at the same time.
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"The Macau recovery continues to be disrupted by false starts, while the lack of [Chinese] public holidays for rest of the year should cap the pace of the rebound”
Andrew Lee and David Katz
Analysts at brokerage Jefferies LLC