Once billed as the gambling hub of the world, Macau’s status of being a gambling paradise for high-rollers may be slipping away. The anti-corruption crackdown by the Chinese government in 2014 was relentless and may be directly related to significant losses for Macau casinos. The total losses in 2014 are estimated to be in excess of $100 billion and Macau casinos continue to lose money so far in 2015.
Recent reports comparing Macau’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Feb 2015 with that of Feb 2014 have revealed a staggering 48.6 % drop. The Chinese New Year takes place in February and it is a period where casinos tend to make a huge surge in profits. The anti-corruption crackdown along with political tensions and violence in neighboring Hong Kong has driven gamblers away from Macau into neighboring countries like Vietnam, Philippines and Cambodia where there are a lot less gambling regulations.
The reports were released by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau and analysts were not surprised with the significant drop considering the current state of affairs in Macau. Industry analysts believe that the industry will continue to decline as long as the Chinese government continues its anti-corruption crackdown, keeping high rollers from taking junkets to the mecca.
Macau casinos generated approximately $2.4 billion in February 2015 and an overall GGR of a little over $5 billion when adding Jan and Feb revenue together. The revenue in February 2015 was also the first time the monthly gaming revenue in Macau fell below $2.4 billion.
According to a report in GGR Asia, Felicity Chiang and Grant Govertsen who are analysts at the Union Gaming Research Macau Ltd. said in a note “Today’s results won’t provide many answers in regards to what happened in February. However, over the coming weeks and through the course of March there will be greater insight into the composition of February’s GGR (mass vs VIP) and whether or not the February results represent a new baseline.”
The February report marks the ninth month in a row showing a monthly year-on-year decline in Macau gaming revenue.