Macau casinos relied on holidaymakers and recreational gamblers to cushion a slide in July gaming revenue.
Las Vegas Sands Corp., Wynn Resorts Ltd. and other casinos saw revenue fall less than expected after a shift to recreational gambling and holiday tourism, Bloomberg reports.
Gross gaming revenue slipped 4.5 percent to 17.8 billion patacas (US$2.2 billion) in July, the 26th consecutive month of decline, according to the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
That follows a 8.5 percent decrease in June and compares with the median estimate of a 5.5 percent drop by nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
The casino industry has been trying to attract more tourists and recreational gamblers as revenue from high-stakes VIP playersd stalled from the Chinese government’s crackdown on corruption.
The opening of Wynn Macau Ltd.’s Wynn Palace and Sands China Ltd.’s Parisian casino resorts in August and September, respectively, are being closely watched for their impact on the industry.
“We think the industry is stabilizing” with the new openings by mid-September to attract mass market tourists, Macau legislator Jose Coutinho told Bloomberg Television.
Macau still has potential to attract Chinese visitors given its proximity to mainland China where gambling is illegal, he said.
Macau stocks were mixed in Hong Kong trading, with Sands China up 2.3 percent while Wynn Macau was down 2.2 percent.
Visitor numbers to Macau is beginning to show signs of rebounding and “we’re starting to see gaming revenue declines easing”, said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Margaret Huang.
Monthly casino revenue has also stabilized at the US$2 billion a month level and is likely to increase in the third quarter with new resorts opening, she said.
Billionaire Sheldon Adelson said last week he is optimistic recreational gamblers and tourists will spur a recovery in the casino industry after Sands China reported mass-market gaming revenue rose in June for the first time in two years.
The government is reviewing Sands’s application for gaming tables at the US$2.7 billion Parisian scheduled to open Sept. 13.
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