21 February 2019
Gaming revenue during the 'golden week' holiday fell despite a surge in visitors to Macau. Photo: Bloomberg
Gaming revenue during the 'golden week' holiday fell despite a surge in visitors to Macau. Photo: Bloomberg

‘Golden week’ Macau casino revenue slips despite visitor surge

Macau casinos are expected to report disappointing revenue despite a double-digit percentage increase in the number of visitors during the week-long national day holiday.

Visitor arrivals during the “golden week” rose 16.1 percent year-on-year to 1.04 million, with the number of mainlanders climbing 17.1 percent to 846,000, according to the Public Security Police.

Leading casino operator Sands China Ltd. (01928.HK) said it recorded 1.5 million visitors across its properties in the first six days of the holiday, up 9 percent.

Sands said its hotels are almost full, Apple Daily reported Thursday.

Gaming revenue in Macau has fallen for four straight months, according to brokers.

Michael Ting, a gaming stock analyst with CIMB Securities, said most of the visitors were low-end gamblers as China’s anti-corruption campaign continues to deter high rollers and VIP guests.

Also, Ting said it’s difficult to predict when gaming revenue will start to grow again.

A shareholder of the VIP business of casinos described the revenue drop as “very significant”, saying there are also many bad loans and loan disputes.

Daiwa Securities Group Inc. made similar observations. 

In a research report, Barclays said gaming revenue came in at 1 billion patacas (US$125.2 million) in the first six days of October, down 40 percent from the same period last year. It blamed the steep decline on a lackluster VIP segment.

Revenue for this month may fall 23-27 percent to 27.2 billion patacas, it said.

Credit Suisse expects revenue to drop 17-20 percent this month but said it could recover by the end of October or November.

Macau’s six major gaming stocks fell on Wednesday despite gains in the broader market. They were up about 2-3 percent at 11 a.m. on Thursday.

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EJ Insight reporter

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