The Chinese territory of Macau posted a whopping 22% increase in gross gaming revenue (GGR) last month, catching analysts by surprise.
Typically, due to Chinese New Year, many financial analysts predict a slump after Christmas. This year, due to a meeting of the National People’s Congress (NCP) in early March, it was thought that the slump would continue.
Macau defied all predictions
But Macau casinos defied all predictions as the sustained demand for gambling peaked at MOP25.9bn ($3.2bn, £2.28bn), according to Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ). This was despite expected growth of only 13 to 18%.
It’s good news for the industry in Macau – brokerage firm Union Gaming has announced it is expecting a robust first quarter for GGR, which may climb up to 20.5%, with forecasts that it is likely to maintain an above average demand throughout the rest of the second quarter. The firm also believes that the VIP segment will continue to outpace the mass/slots growth rate, with the segment likely to grow upwards of 20% over the next few months.
This is partly because there are fewer Saturdays in April this year than in 2017. June 2018, however, with its extra Saturday, is expected to be more favorable.
VIP mainly responsible
Speaking from Macau, Grant Govertsen, managing director and head of Asia equity research, said of the predictions: “Even though Chinese New Year was in mid-February this year, the traditional post-CNY slowdown felt notably longer than usual this year and seemingly extended into the first two weeks of March. We therefore think GGR sharply accelerated after the meetings were concluded, leading to a very strong last week of March.”
According to the latest report, the VIP segment was responsible for the rally of the casinos following the NCP meeting in March, a trend that is now expected to continue into April.
20th consecutive monthly gain
March’s bumper results make this the 20th consecutive month of gains for the former Portuguese colony. It comes after revenues fell massively to a five-year low after a crackdown on corruption in 2014. However, revenues still remain far lower than the highs of 2014.
Macau is the country’s only legal casino hub and home to the Wynn Palace and Wynn Macau casino. It has been reported that the region helped Wynn Resorts nearly triple its earnings in the fourth quarter of last year. This comes ahead of its public shares offering to Galaxy Entertainments Group, which also operates in Macau.