Macau’s gaming revenue almost halved in February compared to the same month last year as Chinese high-rollers held back during the Lunar New Year holidays amid an anti-graft campaign by Beijing.
Casino revenues in the former Portuguese enclave totaled 19.5 billion patacas (US$2.4 billion) last month, marking a record 49 percent drop from the 38 billion patacas recorded in the corresponding period in 2014, according to data from the city’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
“We believe the biggest culprit for the weak month was the already-troubled VIP segment,” Reuters quoted Grant Govertsen, an analyst at Union Gaming Research Macau, as saying.
A crackdown on corruption led by Chinese President Xi Jinping, which also targets the illicit outflow of money from China, has been blamed for the ninth consecutive monthly decline in gambling revenues in the world’s biggest gaming hub.
“Notably, there were a number of mass tables empty on the third and fourth days of CNY (Chinese New Year),” Wells Fargo analysts said in a research note late last month.
Analysts expect the slowdown to lead to more closures of junket operators, the companies that arrange credit, accommodation and travel for wealthy players.
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