Macau Casino Gaming Falls Hard During November

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In the month of November, Macau casino gaming revenue fell hard, though the final stats were slightly better than many analysts had predicted.

Figures released Sunday by Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) show that the casino operators in the Special Administrative Region generated MOP25b (US$ 2.84b) gaming revenue in November, down 8.5 percent from the same month last year and 13.5 percent from the total in October 2019.

The decline in November marked the seventh month of year-on-year declines so far in 2019, and the decline of 8.5 percent was second only to the 8.6 percent decline in August on the Macau market. November’s revenue was this year’s second-lowest, above just the MOP22.1b in September.

The current woes of Macau were largely laid at the doors of the VIP rooms of the casinos, which fought as high-rollers gave Macau a wide berth. VIP skittishness has been due to a number of factors, including tightened liquidity for some manufacturing execs as the US-China trade war drags on and the renewed interest of the Chinese authorities in some junket operators’ operations.

The overall market performance of Macau would have been much more dire if not for strong growth in the mass market gaming segment, which in the first quarter of 2019 overtook VIP baccarat revenue and has held that lead ever since.

Gaming revenue is down 2.4 percent to MOP269.7 m (US$ 33.4b) for the year-to-date, and it seems almost certain that the two-year annual revenue growth streak of Macau will end in 2019. After three years of significant declines, which began in 2014, Macau posted annual increases in both 2017 and 2018.

December is expected to extend Macau’s decline in gaming revenue as Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to visit Macau in the middle of the month to mark the twentieth anniversary of Macau’s Portugal transfer. Before Xi’s visit, on November 22, China imposed temporary exit visa restrictions on Macau-bound travellers, which will extend through December 20.

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