According to a report out today by Macau‘s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) gross gaming revenues for the month of July were up significantly from June’s numbers, but still down a bit year on year, signalling the 26th consecutive month of y-o-y decline. The 4.6 percent drop to MOP17.77 billion (US$2.22 billion) from last July’s MOP18.62b gave the gaming economy a seven month accumulated GGR of MOP125.56b, a 10.5 percent negative variance on the MOP140.26 billion accumulated GGR for July 2015.

The 4.5 percent decrease was seen as a good sign with the previous month showing a drop of 8.5 percent and all indications are that the gaming economy is on the mend for stabilization and a “new normal” with a grinding recovery; much like the recovery Las Vegas has experienced since the slow economic recovery in the United States.

The numbers were on par or above government estimates the DICJ released with last month’s report. Last week Macau Chief Executive, Chui Sai On told reporters that 2017 should see the end of a three year downturn and the return to real growth in special administrative region. This optimism is in line with a gross domestic product forecast by the Intelligence Unit of  The Economist published in June that predicted that while real Gross Domestic Product for Macau would continue to shrink through 2016 year, at a much slower rate, that gains for that economic indicator for 2017 would nearly offset this year’s shrinking GDP.

A 2015 report by the National Bureau of Statistics of China showed that the services sector (of which gaming is a part) represented 94.3 percent of Macau’s GDP. Some estimates have placed gaming at a full 60% of Macau’s gross domestic product. As gaming revenues improve, so will the rest of the economy. The first quarter of 2016 saw GDP contract by over 13% y-o-y, “mainly due to the continuous decline in exports of services and decrease in investment,” said a May report by Macau’s Statistics and Census Service.

Macau’s drop in VIP gaming may never be totally replaced by mass market gamblers, but the government is exerting its influence to help non-gaming revenues make up a larger portion of the economy by 2020. Target growth for casino non-gaming revenues is set at  9 percent of over last years 6.6 percent.

Also expected to make a significant impact on the numbers for 2016 are the opening of Wynn Macau Ltd.’s Wynn Palace in Cotai on August 22, and Sands China Ltd.’s Parisian Macao in the same area mid-September. 2017 will also see the opening of MGM Cotai, and possibly Grand Lisboa Palace. Base numbers should also be raised by Stephen Hung’s The13 luxury hotel in Coloane and City of Dreams fifth hotel tower.