Macau casinos’ VIP gambling growth slows to a trickle in Q3


macau-casino-vip-baccarat-growth-slowsMacau casinos reported much stronger growth in mass market gaming than in the VIP segment in the third quarter of 2018, according to government figures.

On Tuesday, Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) published its official stats for the three months ending September 30, which showed combined gross gaming revenue from all activities in Macau of MOP74.1b (US$9.2b), a 10.2% rise over the same period last year. For the year-to-date, gaming revenue is up nearly 16% to MOP224.9b ($27.86b).

VIP baccarat revenue totaled nearly MOP40.1b in Q3 2018, up a modest 3.6% year-on-year, while mass market baccarat was up 21.5% to nearly MOP25.4b. This represents a stark reversal from Q3 2017, which saw VIP baccarat rise 35% to MOP38.7b while mass market baccarat managed to rise only 7% to MOP20.9b.

Slots revenue improved by 9% to MOP3.5b, which, if incorporated into the mass market gaming segment along with other lesser gaming products, brings overall mass market revenue to nearly MOP33.7b, a 19.2% year-on-year gain.

Macau’s VIP market was already showing signs of slowing growth in Q2, and the VIP segment’s share of Macau’s overall pie shrunk by 1.37 points to 54.3% in Q3, while mass market baccarat rose 1.66 points to 34.4%.

It’s only the middle of October, but Bernstein analysts are projecting the month’s total gambling revenue will come in somewhere between MOP27b-29b, which would represent a year-on-year improvement of 4-7%. Visitation was well below expectations during the Golden Week holiday period spanning October 1-7, but gaming revenue reportedly suffered a more modest dip.

Macau’s sports lottery got a smaller Q3 boost from the 2018 FIFA World Cup than it did from the first half of the tourney in Q2. The Macau Slot monopoly reported football wagering revenue rising one-third year-on-year to MOP178m in Q3, but this was well below the MOP244m reported in Q2 2018.

One final historical note, as Q3 was the first quarter to report zero revenue from Macau’s greyhound racing segment. The storied Canidrome racetrack was forced to shut down this summer, and debate continues to rage over the fate of the roughly 600 dogs left homeless by the changes.