The mass gaming segment proved to be the big winner for Macau in the first quarter of 2019. According to the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ, for its Portuguese acronym), it saw growth of 16.1%, helping the city take in $4.61 billion in gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the quarter. Unfortunately, however, this was substantially lower than the $5.32 billion taken in during the same period last year.
VIP baccarat proved to be less popular across the first three months of 2019, with GGR that fell 13.4% year-on-year. It accounted for just 48.86% of Macau’s casino GGR for the quarter, compared to 53.32% in the previous quarter.
Mass-market GGR, including GGR from slot machines, was $4.82 billion compared to the $4.15 billion in the first quarter of 2018. This accounted for a 51.14% stake of the overall casino GGR for the period, the first time mass market GGR has taken the lead.
Mass-market baccarat grew 19.5% year-on-year, reaching almost $3.7 billion and accounting for a 39.24% market share. During the same period last year, it accounted for about $3.09 billion of the city’s GGR.
GGR from slot machines decreased by 2.3% in the quarter to $461.7 million, accounting for 4.9% of the first-quarter revenue. Live multi game products, such as electronic table games with live deals, saw an uptick of 6.6% year-on-year to $82.3 million.
In the first quarter of the year, there were 6,624 live-dealer gaming tables in Macau, an increase of 36 from the last quarter of 2018. The DICJ had fulfilled previous agreements to allow more tables at a small number of venues, resulting in the uptick. However, the number of slot machines fell by 0.5% year-on-year to stand at 17,122. Despite the year-on-year decline, the number was 6.6% higher than the 16,059 seen in the last quarter of 2018.
In January, Macau registered its first monthly year-on-year decline in the past 30 months after GGR fell 5% to $3.08 billion. February saw an improvement, with GGR increasing by 4.4% year-on-year, but March brought a dip of 0.4%. Another decline is expected for April, with some analysts predicting a drop of more than 10%.