Macau Casino Revenues Fall 3.6% To $3.56bn In JulyAugust 1, 2014 1:17 pm
The Chinese territory of Macau has continued expanding ever since overtaking Las Vegas as the world’s largest gambling hub in 2006. In July, however, the former Portuguese colony suffered a second-straight month of falling revenue for the first time in five years with Macau’s 35 casinos generating 3.6% less gambling revenue at $3.56 billion, compared to the the same month last year.
Casino analysts have attributed the worrying figures on a number of factors, not least the 2014 FIFA World Cup which distracted bettors and diverted some gambling revenues away from the baccarat tables. Disappointingly, however, gambling revenue failed to rebound even after the month-long soccer tournament ended on July 13th. In addition, China’s slowing economic growth coupled with a clampdown on money laundering has led to greater scrutiny of VIP customers by casinos resulting in a much sharper fall in bets.
Commenting on the situation, Wells Fargo analyst Cameron McKnight, stated: “We continue to believe 2014 will be choppy as VIP growth likely remains weak into fourth quarter and we haven’t seen a sustained improvement in revenues post World Cup.”
In 2012, Macau’s revenues had increased by 14%, and in 2013 by 19% to 360.7 billion patacas ($45.2 billion). By contrast, for the first seven months of 2014 Macau casino revenues are currently higher by just 10% at 221.5 billion patacas, with analysts predicting growth will slow to around 8% by the year’s end.
The latest monthly revenue result also hit casino stocks, with Sands China Ltd. falling by 2.1% to HK$56.45, Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. down 2.4%, Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. down 2.1%, Wynn Macau Ltd. down 1.8%, MGM China Holdings Ltd. down 2.1%, and SJM Holdings Ltd. down 1.4%. Overall, Hong Kong-listed casino stocks have fallen by as much as 20% this year, while the benchmark Hang Seng Index is up by 5% in the year to August.
Despite the recent results, it is unlikely Macau’s growth will suffer overly in the long-term, and as Patrick Ho, head of Asian Equities at AMP Capital, explains: “China will continue to have a supportive policy towards Macau. However, China’s new administration also wants to emphasize that it is serious about cracking down on corruption. What they are trying to do is make the revenues as clean as possible.”