Macau casinos outperformed analysts’ expectations in August as gaming revenue rose over one-sixth year-on-year.
Figures released Saturday by Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) show local casino operators generated gaming revenue of MOP26.5b (US$3.3b) in August, a 17.1% improvement over the same month last year. For the year-to-date, total revenue is up 17.5% to MOP202.1 ($25b).
Analysts had offered forecasts for August’s annual growth in the range of 15-17%, but China’s gamblers were either freer with their spending or unluckier at the tables, allowing the result to come in slightly ahead of the top end of that range.
August’s strong performance – the largest year-on-year gain in the past four months and the highest monthly revenue total this year – marks 25 straight months in which gaming revenue has risen on a year-to-year basis.
There are some caveats, such as the fact that a few Macau casinos were forced to temporarily close their doors for a spell in August 2017 due to Typhoon Hato, the worst storm to hit the special administrative region of China in half a century, which flooded some city streets and casino gaming floors.
Many Macau casino operators have seen their stock price tumble over the summer months, as investors fretted over slowing revenue growth and fears of another Beijing-imposed crackdown on corruption of the kind that kicked off Macau’s 26-month revenue slowdown that finally ended in August 2016.
There are also fears that Beijing could seek some way to punish Macau’s three US operators – Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts and Wynn Resorts – if US President Donald Trump follows through on his threat to dramatically ramp up his trade war with China. Las Vegas Sands boss Sheldon Adelson is among the Republican party’s biggest financial backers.