CASINO

Macau casino revenue declines for second straight month, analysts say don’t panic

TAGs: Francis Tam Pak Yuen, Macau, SJM Holdings

macau-casino-revenue-panicMacau casinos suffered their second straight month of gaming revenue decline in June as the world’s top gambling hub struggles to regain its footing. Gaming revenue at Macau’s 35 casinos fell 3.6% year-on-year to MOP 28.4b (US $3.56b). June’s 3.7% decline marked the first time in four years that Macau had experienced a monthly revenue fall, while July’s shortfall marks the first two consecutive months of decline in over five years, an event that followed hot on the heels of 2008’s global economic meltdown.

Blame for July’s decline can be laid at the doors of multiple suspects, including the second half of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, the lingering effects of mainland China crackdowns on VIP gamblers and junket operators, curbs on the use of UnionPay debit card devices and some confidence-shaking junket shenanigans. However, the World Cup is now history, Macau has clarified the UnionPay situation, junkets appear to be getting back to business and daily revenue tallies were improving throughout the second half of July so analysts expect the numbers to tick back up into positive territory in August.

It’s worth noting that for the year to date, Macau casinos have earned MOP 221.5b ($27.7b), up 10.2% over the same period last year. On Friday, Macau secretary for economy and finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen told reporters “a stage of pause” was natural given the torrid growth Macau had displayed over the past couple years and he still expects 2014 annual revenue to increase by “one digit.”

In terms of market share, SJM Holdings retained its dominant position, although its slice of the revenue pie dipped 0.8 points to 24.1%. Sands China improved 1.1 points to 23.1% while Galaxy Entertainment Group claimed 20.6%, with the rest of the players finishing thus: Melco Crown Entertainment (12.3%), Wynn Macau (11.2%, +1.7 points) and MGM China (8.8%, -1.5 points)

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