“Macau’s revenue growth could be slowed down in June by the World Cup,” say financial agency Credit Suisse. A lot of people will be fixated watching it, leaving less time to do other things such as going to casinos. Credit Suisse said the same thing happened during the 2010 World Cup and, with this year’s tournament already more accessible to the public, financial forecasts aren’t looking as rosy as Macau casino operators would like.
Year-on-year gross gaming revenues are only expected to increase between 1–6 percent—far lower than the double-digit growth forecasts from previous months. Macau posted a 9.3 percent growth in May, well below the forecasted 14 percent.
Given the duration of the World Cup, its effect on Macau isn’t expected to last long. Traditionally, the group stages are the most-watched part of the World Cup schedule, given the number of games being played compared with the finals. Once half the teams are eliminated, viewership numbers will also drop and could send more gamblers back to the casino tables. MGM China CEO Grant Bowie told Macau Business Daily that such a scenario could happen, while stopping short of admitting that the football fixation would have any serious effects on Macau’s gross gambling revenues.
“The impact caused by the World Cup, if there is one, is that customers may be allocating more time to watching the World Cup rather than travelling to Macau,” Bowie said. “This [distraction from gaming] will be a short term effect and we expect to see increased visitation after the event.”
June is traditionally a weak month in Macau anyway, so temper your expectations a little more once the tournament kicks off in Brazil this week.