Gambling revenue in Macau dropped 5% year-on-year in January, the industry's first decline in 29 months.
The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) reported MOP24.9bn ($3bn) in January gross revenue, a decline from last year’s MOP26.2bn.
A smoking ban in casinos was introduced on 1 January and is likely to have contributed to the drop, along with slow activity from VIP players due to the US’s trade war with China.
The figure was in line with analysts’ predictions of a drop in growth in 2019 but casinos remain optimistic following the opening of a bridge connecting Macau to mainland China.
Macau is highly reliant on gambling revenues, with taxes from its casinos making up more than 80% of the government’s overall revenue.
Macau's casinos finished 2018 with MOP302.85bn in gross revenue, a 14% increase, with December figures showing 17% growth to MOP26.5bn.