Macau casino revenue maintains growth momentum as bettors return

Macau's casinos reported that revenue growth in March accelerated at the fastest pace in eight months.
Macau's casinos reported that revenue growth in March accelerated at the fastest pace in eight months. PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Macau's casino revenue growth in March accelerated at the fastest pace in eight months, as both high rollers and leisure gamblers return to the world's largest gaming hub.

Gross gaming receipts rose 18.1 per cent to 21.2 billion patacas (S$3.7 billion), according to data released by Macau's Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau on Saturday (April 1).

That follows a 17.8 per cent jump in February and compares with the median estimate for a 15 per cent increase in a Bloomberg survey of eight analysts.

The gaming recovery is gathering momentum as revenue from both high-stakes VIP and leisure gamblers bounces back in Macau, the only place in China where gambling is legal, after a two-year slump amid a crackdown on corruption.

The Bloomberg Intelligence index of Macau gaming shares increased 11.1 per cent in March compared with a 1.6 per cent gain in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.

There are "limited negative catalysts" in the next three to six months, Daiwa Capital Markets Hong Kong analysts Jamie Soo and Adrian Chan said in a note on March 29.

They said first-quarter earnings at Macau casino operators could throw a "positive surprise", with adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation gaining more than 20 per cent from a year earlier.