Macau casinos lose 34 junket operators in 2014; top-six control 76% of VIP turnover

macau-missing-junketsMacau casinos lost 34 junket operators in 2014, as VIP gaming promoters respond to a world in which VIPs are becoming an endangered species. High-rollers accounted for just 60.5% of Macau’s 2014 gaming revenue, down from 73% in 2013.

Public broadcaster Radio Macau reported that the number of licensed junkets fell from 217 in January 2014 to just 183 by the end of the year. Nineteen of the 34 missing junkets formally requested that their licenses be cancelled while the other 15 simply didn’t bother to file for renewal.

This reduction in junket ranks doesn’t include the three rooms David Group recently announced it would be closing. Nor does it include Gold Moon Group’s closure of its VIP room at Sands Cotai Central.

On Sunday, Macau Chief Executive Chui Sai On told a press conference that it was “normal to have changes or adjustments” in the number of VIP rooms serving Macau. On Tuesday, Ponto Final quoted Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) director Manuel Joaquim das Neves saying the issue “deserves no special attention” because the junkets that opted not to renew were “small-size gaming promoters that already had no activity.”

Analysts at Daiwa Securities Group released a report rejecting the popular wisdom that junket consolidation will improve the situation, saying they’d yet to see any evidence that smaller junket closures were resulting in a shift of capital to larger operators. The larger junkets are still facing “a deteriorating climate and plan further cuts in VIP room numbers.”

Daiwa also reported that Macau’s top-six junkets control 76% of all VIP gambling turnover. Suncity Group led the pack with an estimated 25% share of the pie and 219 tables in operation. The Guangdong Group (aka Neptune Group) has more tables (228) but a smaller share (15%).

Tak Chun Group placed third (10% of the market, 78 tables), tied with Golden Resorts Group (10%, 73 tables). David Group placed fifth (8%, 84 tables), although these numbers don’t reflect the planned closures at the end of this month, tied with Hengsheng Group (8%, 75 tables).

Daiwa estimates there are a total of 1,876 VIP tables in Macau, of which 1,679 (89%) are controlled by junkets. The total number of all gaming tables in Macau as of Dec. 31 was 5,711.