Macau will celebrate Chinese New Year for a lot longer than most after revenue figures eclipsed 2010 by a huge margin. Government figures showed gaming revenue in the gambling industry enclave hit 25billion patacas ($3.13bn) in January, up 34.8% compared with the previous year. Analysts in Macau had been predicting the industry would be celebrating over in Asia but were still cautious over the coming month and year ahead. Even though January’s figures broke records they pointed out last year’s holiday fell in February and we should expect a drop in that very month. The influx of visitors was such that the drop won’t be huge and will still be impressive give the current global recession.
As far as the remainder of the year is concerned the growth seen in the world’s largest casino business location may not hit the previous highs. Analysts and investors think it’ll be somewhere between 11% and 20% – an extremely impressive figure for a market that is immune to the downturn. Philip Tulk, head of casinos and gaming research at RBS Hong Kong, doesn’t believe January’s numbers will change a lot though.
“I don’t think people will be revising up estimates on the back of one month,” he said.
One thing that is forecast to grow rapidly over the coming year is the mass-market. The VIP market accounts for much of the enclave’s gaming industry revenue thanks to the lucrative trade that junkets operate. It’s something that worries officials in Macau. Ideally they want casinos to start developing other activities so that they’re not so over-reliant on gambling. The Cotai strip is key in this area and Sands China’s new $4billion entertainment venue could mean the mass-market passes the VIP one.