Macau casino revenue dips on HK turmoil, high-rollers' caution

HONG KONG • Macau casino revenue last month dipped for a second consecutive month as the world's biggest gaming hub faced headwinds from protests in Hong Kong and regulatory uncertainty over high-roller junkets.

Gross gaming revenue for Macau casino operators was 24.3 billion patacas (S$4.17 billion) last month, down 8.6 per cent from a year earlier, according to data from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. That missed the median analyst estimate of a 4 per cent fall, following a drop in July.

The latest numbers further illustrate the turbulence in the Macau gaming sector this year due to a myriad of negative factors. Of the first eight months of this year, gaming revenue expanded for four months and contracted for four months, failing to sustain momentum either way.

Macau casinos are not entirely immune to the trade war and a Chinese economy that has slowed to the weakest pace in three decades.

Well-heeled gamblers have been affected by the sluggish economy and more are staying away from baccarat tables, cutting short over two years of sustained gaming revenue growth at the start of the year.

High-rollers are also cautious after a series of moves to clamp down on phone and online gaming in the past month by the Chinese government.

The ongoing protests in Hong Kong have disrupted transportation and visa applications for Chinese visitors to Hong Kong and Macau.

Weekend jaunts to Macau have also likely dropped due to people staying home as protests rage on in the streets of Hong Kong.

  • $4.17b Gross gaming revenue for Macau casino operators in August.

    8.6% Fall in August's gross gaming revenue for Macau casino operators from a year earlier, according to data from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.

Market Performance Casino stocks have been volatile over the past few months. In May, the Bloomberg Intelligence index of Macau operators dropped 20 per cent, before recovering some gains in June and July.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 02, 2019, with the headline 'Macau casino revenue dips on HK turmoil, high-rollers' caution'. Print Edition | Subscribe