Macau casinos can rejoice as awful run of declines is over

By David Cook
Macau’s run of year-on-year declines in casino gross revenue is finally over, with August’s total of 18.84bn patacas (£1.78bn) being a rise of 1%.

This is the first time in 27 months that the former Portuguese colony has been able to post a year-on-year climb, with particular lowlights in that time being February 2015’s record 49% hit to 19.54bn patacas and June 2016’s total of 15.88bn patacas, the lowest monthly total since September 2010 (15.3bn patacas).

Macau came close to ending the downturn earlier this year, when February’s sum of 19.52bn patacas was just 0.1% down from the same month a year earlier.

This comes after the Statistics and Census service announced earlier this week that Macau’s gross domestic product dropped by 7% year-on-year in the second quarter, with exports of gaming services falling by 12%, less than a 17.1% decline in the first quarter.

The general consensus has been that the market has struggled in part due to economic struggles, an anti-corruption campaign that has affected junkets driving VIP business and a general shift in target market to appeal to the mass market as opposed to VIPs, showcased by 2015’s 40% reduction in VIP baccarat gross revenue to 127.82bn patacas.

While this is the first year-on-year monthly upturn to have been posted since May 2014, the monthly totals for this year have been pretty much flat-lining with the comparative months a year earlier, so the minor increase for August should not really be seen as out of line with the way the market has been heading this year, as the market continues to settle and adapt to change.

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