Macau’s casino industry has been in a slump for the last 25 months, but stocks rallied across the board this week. Las Vegas Sands Chairman and billionaire Sheldon Adelson recently announced that their Chinese subsidiary Sands China had witnessed a growth in mass market gaming revenue, which many see as setting the stage for a return to growth.
Sands China continued to report weak revenue from its VIP market segment but its mass gaming revenue recorded its first month of growth since September 2014. The company also confirmed that its second quarter results missed gaming analyst’s estimates after it recorded an earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) dropped by 14 percent to $487.7 million.
Sheldon Adelson who is the chairman for the Las Vegas Sands Corp and the Sands China believes that Macau’s casino industry is finally beginning to turn around. According to Bloomberg, in a call with investors, Adelson said “Stabilization appears to be here. We’re very happy that there’s one month that hit the bottom and we have no reason to believe that that’s not going to continue.”
The markets responded well on July 26 to Adelson’s positive outlook as Las Vegas Sands shares in New York rose by 4.1 percent to $49.75 and Sands China shared also went up by 6 percent on the Hong Kong stock exchange, which was the highest it had reached in the last four months. Share prices for the Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd, Wynn Macau Ltd and Wynn Resorts Ltd also witnessed a rise.
Things have not looked good for Macau’s casino industry during the last 24 months as the government continued to tighten regulations on the casino industry with the objective of changing Macau’s image from being a gambling paradise into one that was welcoming to family and tourists. This latest turnaround in Macau’s casino industry may also be partially due to the fact that a number of billion dollar resorts are scheduled to open in the Cotai district this year. The $2.7 billion Parisian Macao is expected to open on September 13 while the $4.1 billion Wynn Palace will open on August 22.
Sands China president Rob Goldstein also echoed Adelson’s views on Macau’s turnaround stating that something good happened in June as the gaming floors were busy, especially on weekends. Goldstein believes that Macau is slowly transforming into the biggest mass market for gamblers in the world and remains hopeful that this trend will continue throughout the summer.
According to a Bloomberg report on Monday, analysts from Sanford C. Bernstein & Co believe that amongst all the casino operators in Macau, Sands China is the best positioned to profit from the turnaround as it had a great portfolio of retail, hotel and conference facilities to attract mass market and recreational gamblers who were key drivers in the market turnaround.