Soaring numbers of high rollers at Las Vegas Sands' casino in Macau appear to have plateaued as the company's turnover from VIP gaming suffered its first sequential decline, despite a record quarter. Turnover of VIP gambling chips during the first three months fell 6 per cent from the previous quarter to US$3.94 billion, compared with a 4 per cent rise in the Macau high-roller market for the period. Two rivals opened new casinos during the quarter. Sands management said the casino was experiencing shortages of VIP table space. 'We remain capacity-constrained as we ramp up the VIP side of the business, particularly during peak playing times,' Sands president William Weidner told investors in a conference call yesterday. The company is adding 16 tables or 30 per cent more space for high-stakes play later this month. It is also reassessing its network of junket operators - marketing agents responsible for bringing in and issuing credit to gamblers - to ensure that only the highest of high rollers receive the VIP treatment. '[High-stakes turnover] is increasing rapidly as we get better at it, as we broaden our network and separate wheat from chaff and as we tell certain junket operators: 'Sayonara, because you're not bringing high enough quality customers,'' Mr Weidner said. Despite the hiccup, steady growth in winnings from the mass-market tables and slot machines pushed net revenue at the Macau casino up 3.6 per cent from the previous quarter and 60 per cent from a year earlier to US$281.6 million. Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were US$103.26 million, up 2 per cent from the previous quarter and 53 per cent year on year. The substantial increase from a year earlier was due primarily to growing VIP business, as Sands only formally launched junket programmes to lure high rollers in the first quarter last year. Sands also operates a 4,000-room casino-hotel as well as a convention centre in Las Vegas but derives the majority of its revenue and profit from the 400-table Sands Macau casino. Sands shares closed near record highs on Thursday at US$66.32, representing a price-earnings ratio of 82.9 times. The company is spending up to US$8 billion on Macau's Cotai development, which calls for 12 casino resorts and 20,000 hotel rooms.