What a difference a week – and the return of the VIP market – has made for Macau.
After initially reporting disappointing gaming revenue numbers for Macau casinos, a number of gaming analysts have revised their February revenue forecasts on the heels of a strong post-Lunar Year period that was jumpstarted by high-rolling VIP gamblers who returned to the tables after seemingly taking a break during the New Year celebrations.
Over the first 17 days of the month, our very own Steven Stradbrooke reported that gaming analysts placed Macau’s gaming revenues to below their earlier estimates. HSBC Global Research tallied the revenue numbers at MOP 15.2 billion (US $1.9 billion), a number that wasn’t quite up-to-par with expectations despite a 12% improvement from the same time last year.
But shortly after the holidays ended, business began to pick up as the high-roller VIPs once again showed up, helping Macau’s gaming revenues to surge to over MOP 23 billion ($ 2.87 billion) in the past week, prompting several investment banks and brokerage firms to revise their forecasts for the gambling enclave’s industry performance for the month. Macau Business is now reporting that numerous banks have revised upward their forecasts for February, including Citigroup, which raised its estimates to MOP 26.5 billion ($ 3.32 billion), a nine-percent growth rate from the initial MOP 25 billion ($ 3.125 billion) estimate. Similarly, Nomura also revised its forecast for Macau gaming revenues for February from MOP 24.5 billion ($ 3.06 billion) to MOP 25.5 billion ($ 3.19 billion) to MOP 25.5 billion and MOP 26.5 billion.
It certainly appears that the quick turnaround in revenue estimates is owed to the return of the high-rollers in Macau, the lifeblood of Macau’s gambling market whose absence in the first 17 days of the month caused the same analysts to downgrade their revenue expectations for February. But now that they’re back, Macau’s gambling revenue looks like it’s back on track.