Macau casino gaming revenue falls to lowest level since 2010

macau-2015-gaming-revenue-declineMacau casino gaming revenue fell 34.3% in 2015, hitting an annual low not seen since 2010.

On Friday, Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau reported that December’s monthly gaming revenue came to MOP 18.34b (US $2.3b), a 21.2% decline from the same month last year. That marks the 19th straight month the city’s gaming revenue has reported a year-on-year shortfall.

December’s numbers brought 2015’s annual haul to MOP 230.84b ($28.9b), a 34.4% fall from 2014’s MOP 351.5b, marking the second straight year of annual declines. The annual take is less than two-thirds of the market’s MOP 360.75b peak in 2013 and the lowest yearly number since 2010’s MOP 188.3b.

On the plus side, December’s monthly percentage decline was the smallest since January’s 17.4% year-on-year fall. However, December 2014 was by far that year’s worst monthly decline, so this December benefited from a (relatively) favorable comparison.

At this point, there’s little more to be said about Macau’s year to forget, and 2016 may prove better only in relative terms. Analysts are projecting further declines for the floundering VIP market, while some analysts foresee a mild uptick for the mass market.

However, the overall Macau market is expected to post a single-digit revenue decline by the time 2016 is in the books, and that’s a best-case scenario largely based on favorable comparisons with 2015’s deflated numbers. Macau is mulling a total smoking ban within casino boundaries while Beijing is implementing tighter restrictions on Chinese tourists’ ability to access cash off the mainland.

That will take a lot of the shine off the three major integrated resorts – Wynn Resorts’ Wynn Macau, Sands China’s Parisian and MGM China’s MGM Cotai – scheduled to open in Macau in 2016.