After surpassing Las Vegas revenues last year, Macau has reported a loss in gaming revenues for the first time. September revenues were reported to be down 3% over the same month last year. With most of the big names in Las Vegas also invested in the Macau market, this contributed to even further stock declines for US casino companies. Wynn Resorts fell almost 5%, MGM Mirage dropped 11% and the Las Vegas Sands plummeted 13% at the reports.
The Chinese government had made it clear that they wanted to slow the phenomenal growth in Macau. The explosion in the sector in recent years has put major stress on the city’s infrastructure as well as creating skyrocketing inflation and labor supply issues. A recent freeze on new gaming licenses was made in order to slow the growth.
The biggest factor in the drop seems to be the new Chinese visa policy which has limited visits from mainland Chinese to Macau. The restrictions began with allowing one visit every two months and this month it gets even tighter with only one every three months. A good part of the market for the Macau casinos has been wealthier mainland Chinese. Analysts believe that this could lead to even further declines in gambling revenues in the months to come.