Visitor spending on gaming services expanded by 13.0 percent year-on-year in the first three months of 2014, while non-gaming spending rose by 6.6 percent according to a report issued on Monday by the Monetary Authority of Macao.
The figures use the gross domestic product accounting method, i.e., they are calculated as a proportion of service exports net of service imports.
In the same period, gross gaming revenue from Macau casinos rose by 19.8 percent according to earlier data from the city’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
Visitor spending in all service export categories achieved double-digit growth of 12.1 percent in the first quarter according to the monetary authority.
In 2013 as a whole, all visitor spending using the GDP accounting method also rose by 12.1 percent, from 6.9 percent in 2012, despite visitor arrivals only expanding by 4.4 percent during the period according to the authority’s Monetary and Financial Stability Review.
Also for 2013, the general economy registered a growth rate of 11.9 percent, up from 9.1 percent in the previous year.
The authority adds in its report on the numbers for 2013: “Service exports expanded at a brisk pace, bolstered by the robust growth and higher margins of the mass-market gaming segment.”
According to the gaming bureau, mass-market baccarat revenue surged by 38.3 percent year-on-year in 2013, significantly faster than the 13.1 percent rise of the VIP sector.
Visitor arrivals from mainland China, the top source of Macau tourists, grew by 15.8 percent to 8.6 million in the first five months of 2014. The share of mainland tourists arriving under Individual Visit Scheme visas rose to 44.4 percent from 42.5 percent in the same period of 2013, states the monetary authority.
Additionally, the authority confirmed that non-resident labour made up 40 percent of Macau’s employed workforce as of the end of May.
“Given the obvious shortage of local labour supply, imported workers increased by 28.4 percent year-on-year to 152,299 at the end of May 2014, representing around 40.0 percent of Macao’s employed population,” states the authority’s Monetary and Financial Stability Review.
It added that for the three-month period through to May 31, 2014, the unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage point to 1.7 percent compared to the same period in the preceding year.
“In the short term, imported labour will continue to be the most effective option for meeting the rising labour demand and expanding the productive capacity” of the city, the review stated.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China