Macau Casino Revenues Down 16.3% to $2.3BN in March

Macau’s casino market has continued its free fall into March, now marking 22 months of falling revenues for China’s only legal gambling resort. According to results released by the Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), the island resort’s casinos generated $2.3 billion last month, or 16.3% less revenues compared to March 2015.
The good news, however, is that the contraction in business corresponded roughly with forecasts made by industry experts, who have also predicted a zero to 10% gaming revenue decline for the whole of 2016. Even a 10% fall would be a major improvement on the 34% decline reported for 2015, and commenting on the latest figures Head of the DICJ, Paulo Martins Chan, said that “the most difficult times are now behind us”.
In mid-2014, Macau’s casino industry took a dive following a slow down in the Chinese economy, in addition to a government led anti-corruption drive that ultimately dissuaded the high roller segment from visiting the world’s biggest gambling hub. At the time, VIP gamblers accounted for around two-thirds of all casino revenues, but that figure has now dropped to around one half.
In 2015, Macau’s six casino operators saw $46 billion wiped from their collective market value, but 2016 has been altogether kinder on their stocks, which are currently up by 16% since the start of this year. Nevertheless, some analysts believe the rally is likely to be short-lived, including Richard Huang from Nomura Holdings Inc, who explains that it was a low valuation that helped drive the recent rally in casino share prices, and not business performance.
Likewise, a team from Daiwa Securities Group Inc have also expressed caution over the industry’s near-term prospects, stating: “The sector’s year-to-date rally was largely based on an understanding that a trend of stabilisation/pick-up, particularly in the mass segment, does, in fact, exist. However, actual realisation of this ‘trend’ remains an outstanding question.”

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