Macau’s October gaming revenue up 8.8pc on Golden Week visits

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 November, 2016, 2:32pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 November, 2016, 10:58pm

Macau gaming revenue for October advanced a better-than-expected 8.8 per cent, the third consecutive month of gains, as more than a million Chinese vacationers flocked to the newly opened casino resorts during the Golden Week holiday.

Gross gaming revenue rose to 21.82 billion patacas from 20.06 billion patacas, data from the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau showed on Tuesday.

The former Portuguese colony’s transition from a high-stakes gambling hub into a tourist and shopping destination has shown signs of progress, underscored by a 4.3 per cent increase in the number of mainland holidaymakers to 1.2 million over the seven-day national holiday.

October’s growth, outstriping a year-on-year gain of 7.4 per cent in September, also mitigated market concern that Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Macau earlier this month was likely to discourage large spending high-rollers. Historically, official visits by Beijing’s leaders dampens Macau’s VIP gambling segment.

“We think the mass market was boosted by the opening of new properties The Parisian and Wynn Palace, which increased the room supply by 15 per cent and attracted more foot traffic to Macau,” said Angela Han, an analyst with China Merchant Securities.

“We expect November gross gaming revenue to record a slightly lower year-on-year growth of 8 per cent, given November is a traditional slack season and thus the effect from increasing supply would not be as dominating.”

We expect November gross gaming revenue to record a slightly lower year-on-year growth of 8 per cent
Angela Han, China Merchant Securities

The opening of Wynn Macau’s luxury casino resort Wynn Palace and Sands China’s The Parisian, featuring a half-scale replica of the Eiffel Tower, once again made Macau a magnet for mainland travellers during Golden Week.

Macau’s gaming revenue for August capped a 26-month slump triggered by Beijing’s clampdown on corruption and ostentatious living.

During President Xi Jinping’s last visit in December 2014, he urged the Macau government to diversify itself from gambling, which subsequently led to gaming table quota curbs and more family friendly entertainment facilities rolled out by Galaxy Entertainment and Melco Crown Entertainment.

Two years on, Li expressed his approval of those efforts, speaking of “new measures and policies” that will help reduce Macau’s reliance on gaming, including its development as a yuan clearing centre.

Separately, SJM Holdings, the Macau gaming operator owned by the family of legendary casino mogul Stanley Ho, posted an 8.4 per cent decline in its third quarter adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation, as the VIP gambling-dominant casino continued to struggle from shrinking gaming revenue.

Macau gaming shares jumped across the board on Tuesday with Galaxy Entertainment rallying 2.20 per cent, Wynn Macau up 1.18 per cent and Sands China gaining 2.81 per cent as of Tuesday close.