Macau gaming plunges 36% as new casinos fail to spark visits

Macau's casino malaise deepened in August, with gaming revenue falling a 15th straight month.
Macau's casino malaise deepened in August, with gaming revenue falling a 15th straight month. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Macau's casino malaise deepened in August, with gaming revenue falling a 15th straight month as the recent opening of new gambling resorts failed to rouse a return of mainland Chinese visitors over the popular school holiday season.

Gross gaming revenue fell 35.5 per cent to 18.6 billion patacas (S$3.29 billion), widening from July's 34.5 pe ent drop, data from Macau's Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau showed. That compared with the median estimate of a 37.8 per cent fall from seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

The casino downturn has dragged Macau's GDP to its lowest since 2011 as an economic slowdown in China curbed visits by mass market gamblers and high-rollers avoided the city amid Beijing's crackdown on graft.

While operators hoped new projects such as Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.'s two casinos opened in May would revive demand, travel to Macau still slumped in July with visitors from China- the biggest group - falling 6.1 per cent.

"After the opening of Galaxy phase two in May, the downward trend of gaming revenue has been remaining steady, which means incremental revenue brought by the new opening is basically zero," said Richard Huang, an analyst at Nomura Holdings Inc. "The tougher call is when the mass market can really offset the destruction of high-end demand."