Macau Gambling Revenue Falls for Third Consecutive Year
Gambling revenue in Macau fell for the third consecutive year in 2016 as the effects of a prolonged anti-corruption campaign and slowing economic growth continued to be felt.
Last year saw gambling revenue fall 3.3% to $28 billion according to recently published government data. The figures were in line with analyst forecasts of a fall of 3% to 4%.
However, there was some good news as December revenue increased by 8% from a year earlier to 19.8 billion Patacas.
Some new casino resorts which opened in the third quarter helped to attract mass gamblers and caused a resurgence in VIP spenders who have avoided the island since Chinese President Xi Jinping began his anti-corruption campaign.
Analysts think that Macau’s gaming industry has reached a bottom amid perception that the anti-corruption campaign is waning and the government is no longer that interested in Macau.
However, there are differing views on the sustainability and pace of recovery over the coming years for the major operators.
There are new casino properties set to open this year with The 13 Holdings and MGM followed by SJM’s casino in 2018. The new resorts come as Macau faces increasing competition from neighbouring casino hubs including Saipan, the Philippines, Cambodia and South Korea.
Authorities on Macau have been trying to push the development of non-gaming facilities to make the island less reliant on casinos which currently contribute more than 80% of government revenues.
The build-out of neighbouring Hengqin Island and developments such as a new ferry terminal, increased rail links and a bridge linking Macau to Hong Kong and the mainland province of Zhuhai are expected to increase the number of visitors.