The head of the government in Macau has given a conservative aggregated gross gaming revenues forecast for next year that is around 13% below some analysts’ 2017 estimates despite a recent recovery that has seen the former Portuguese enclave post three consecutive months of growth.
According to The Business Times newspaper citing a report from the Bloomberg news service, Fernando Chui Sai On, Chief Executive for Macau, used his annual policy address on Tuesday to predict that the over 30 casinos in the city would record total gross gaming revenues for 2017 of just over $25.03 billion.
Following 26 straight months of decline, Macau saw aggregated gross gaming revenues for August improve by 1.1% year-on-year while a 7.4% swell was reported for September before October’s figure went up by 8.8%. But, Chui Sai On’s prediction for 2017 is unchanged from his preceding annual forecast and compares with a median estimate for next year of approximately $28.78 billion from five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
“We didn’t set a higher target than this year because we think there are still uncertain factors,” said Chui Sai On.
However, Bloomberg reported that analysts expect aggregated gross gaming revenues for 2016 to comfortably exceed Chui Sai On’s forecast with the median from four estimates coming in at $27.59 billion, which would be a decline of 4.5% year-on-year, as the enclave has already reported takings for the first ten months of the year of $23.1 billion.
“The government has historically, and rightly, presented a conservative forecast as it relates to gross gaming revenue,” Grant Govertsen, Managing Director for Macau-based gaming analyst Union Gaming Securities Asia, told Bloomberg. “Based on trends we’re seeing today, we remain comfortable with our expectations for mid-single digit growth next year.”
Chui Sai On’s forecast comes as Macau continues with efforts to limit the growth of its casino industry by pushing operators such as Wynn Resorts Limited, Las Vegas Sands Corporation and Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited to focus on tourists instead of hard-core Chinese gamblers. These attempts followed the implementation two years ago by President Xi Jinping of his official “Duanlian” policy, which seeks to curb corruption and limit the outflow of capital.
Even with the conservative estimate, stocks in MGM Resorts International’s casino-operating venture MGM China Holdings Limited rose by up to 3.3% on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Wednesday while those for Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited gained as much as 1.1% with the value of Las Vegas Sands Corporation subordinate Sands China Limited improving by 1.3%. Bloomberg reported that Macau gaming shares had gained 27% this year through Tuesday ahead of the 1.9% boost in the benchmark Hang Seng Index.