Sands China Ltd has maintained top spot in Macau in terms of market share of casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) during August, according to industry figures compiled by GGRAsia.
The Macau operations unit of Las Vegas Sands Corp moved to a share of 25.3 percent in August, up from its 23.8 percent share in the previous month.
SJM Holdings Ltd, founded by gaming tycoon Stanley Ho Hung Sun, regained second place in the Macau market last month, gaining 160 basis points of GGR share month-on-month, to end August on 21.9 percent.
Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd in August dropped to third spot, losing 130 basis points, to end the month on 21.3 percent.
Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd was in fourth place in August, with a share of 13.6 percent, losing 60 basis points month-on-month. Wynn Macau Ltd was in fifth spot with a GGR market share of 9.5 percent in August, followed by MGM China Holdings Ltd, in sixth position, finishing the month on 8.4 percent.
Investment analysts note that monthly variations in house win rates for casino table games can have some impact on GGR share.
City wide, casino GGR for August fell by 35.5 percent year-on-year to MOP18.62 billion (US$2.33 billion), according to data released on Tuesday by the city’s gaming regulator. It was the 15th straight month of GGR retreat measured year-on-year.
Amid the continuing gaming slump, the Macau government on Tuesday announced the immediate implementation of austerity measures to control public spending. The government aims to save approximately MOP1.4 billion in the current fiscal year with such spending cuts, it said in a statement.
Ahead of market consensus
The rate of year-on-year GGR decline in August increased by 1 percentage point compared to July – after five consecutive months in which the year-on-year decline was less than that of the prior month. But investment analysts said the August results were better than consensus expectations.
The daily average gaming revenue in August was about MOP620 million, up 3 percent from July, “showing a normal seasonal month-on-month pick up in activities,” said a note from UBS Securities Asia Ltd on Tuesday.
“This is better than previously feared, when [the] market expected a drop in month-on-month run rate,” said UBS analysts Anthony Wong and Angus Chan.
The UBS team estimates that VIP revenue fell by 46 percent year-on-year in August. “As highlighted before, we believe junket rooms closures have continued into the third quarter, with multiple rooms closed at properties including Four Seasons, Galaxy and Wynn,” they said.
“Importantly, we believe third quarter mass revenue could now show slight sequential growth versus [the] second quarter, which would mark the first quarterly sequential growth in mass revenue since [the] first quarter 2014,” Mr Wong and Mr Chan said in the note. They added that the better mass market gaming results “could be partially driven by more supportive government visa policies since late June, in addition to seasonal strength”.
The Macau government in July relaxed length-of-stay rules on transit visas used by some mainland Chinese passport holders for visits to Macau.
The first week of September however “could be soft” for Macau casinos as China declared September 3 a national holiday this year to mark the 70th anniversary of the allied victory over Japan in World War II, said Grant Govertsen of Union Gaming Securities Asia Ltd.
“While we would normally look for an additional holiday period to result in some level of GGR boost, the one-time three-day holiday scheduled for September 3 to 5 is unlikely to drive incremental play levels in Macau,” Mr Govertsen said in a note on Tuesday.
He explained: “The holiday is in regards to the 70th anniversary of the formal end of WWII when Japan signed the Instrument of Surrender. Given the gravity of the occasion there appears to be an elevation in the call for patriotic sentiment, which we believe could… result in softer visitation to Macau. As such, we would not be surprised to see the first week of September with a lower-than-recent-normal GGR story.”
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“All of the [casino] concessionaires in Macau respect the law in China, and we never promote gaming in China”
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President of Macau casino operator Sands China