Macau casino revenue falls 23rd straight month but pace of decline cheers analysts

macau-gaming-revenue-23rd-month-declineMacau casino gaming revenue fell for the 23rd straight month in April, yet the scale of the decline had some analysts cheering.

According to figures released Monday by Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), the market’s overall gaming revenue fell 9.5% year-on-year to MOP 17.3b (US $2.2b). The results extend Macau’s losing streak to one month shy of two years worth of negative growth.

Macau’s misfortunes have been going on for so long that the fact that April’s decline wasn’t significantly worse had some analysts cheering on Monday. Many analysts had expected a decline in the low double-digits and thus they expressed hope that April’s numbers supported recent claims/hopes of Macau casino operators that the market was showing signs of stabilizing.

The relatively flat month-on-month performance from March’s results is also giving analysts cause for optimism. Union Gaming’s Grant Govertsen said April ahd “notably outperformed what we’ve seen on a sequential basis the last three years,” leading Govertsen to predict “nice sequential growth in May.”

Govertsen’s optimism wasn’t shared by CLSA analysts Aaron Fischer and Marcus Liu, who expect Macau’s numbers to “remain lackluster in the coming months to account for greater cannibalization of existing properties,” a trend that may gain strength as Macau prepares to welcome two new major properties – Wynn Resorts’ Wynn Palace and Las Vegas Sands’ Parisian Macao – later this year.

Meanwhile, other Macau benchmarks remain a mixed bag. According to Macau’s Statistics and Census Service (DSEC), the number of visitors traveling to the world’s top gambling hub via package tours was 564k in March, a 36.2% decline from the same month last year, although down just 0.6% from February.

Figures for overnight hotel guests were somewhat brighter, rising 12.7% year-on-year to 893k in March. However, the launch of two new mega-resorts last year raised the market’s number of available rooms to 32k (+13.6%), which pushed the overall occupancy rate down 0.9 points to 76.5%. The number of overnight guests from mainland China was up 9.8% to 557k in March, while guests from Hong Kong were up 44.7% to 145k.