Macau’s casino industry appears to be finally witnessing a turnaround after the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau reported that gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the world’s biggest gambling hub had gone up by 14 percent in November 2016. Macau’s casino industry started to recover in August 2016 and November makes it the fourth consecutive month of revenue growth.
The casino industry was rocked for over 27 months due to the anti-corruption crackdown launched by Beijing which saw its VIP gambling segment collapse. The reason for the turnaround is due to the fact that Macau’s six major gaming operators have focused on the mass market gaming sector and also looked to diversify their portfolio by adding more non-gambling facilities. The opening of the Wynn Palace in August 2016 and the Parisian Macao in September 2016 has also helped to boost GGR’s.
Brokerage firm Sanford C. Bernstein had earlier estimated that GGR’s in November would be around 13.9 to 15 percent when compared year on year and their estimate was no far off. The combined GGR’s generated MOP 18.79 billion in November which was a 14.4 percent increase. The last time Macau’s casino industry witnessed a double-digit growth was back in April 2014. Macau’s GGR from January to November 2016 stood at MOP 203.40 billion, which was a 4.3 percent decline when compared to the same period in 2015.
Sophie Lin, a credit analyst at S&P global ratings estimates that by the end of this year, the overall decline in Macau’s GGR will be around 3 to 6 percent but things will improve in 2016 and GGR will increase by a flat 10 percent. In a statement, Lin said “The opening and ramping up of new casinos, better infrastructure connecting Macau with mainland China, and stabilizing regulations are the major factors that will fuel a rebound in the gaming industry.”
With four consecutive months of growth in Macau’s GGR, it would appear that Macau’s casino industry is finally in recovery mode but gaming analysts do not want to be too quick to predict that the worst is over and have cautioned the six gaming operators in SJM Holdings, Sands China, Galaxy Entertainment, Wynn Macau, Melco Crown and MGM China to not be overly optimistic about the recovery just yet.
Macau’s economy is heavily reliant on the casino industry and the 27 consecutive months of decline had also significantly impacted Macau’s economy. The Statistics and Census Service showed that Macau’s economy has finally shown signs of growth after a 2-year decline and recorded a four percent increase during the third quarter of 2016. The growth in Macau’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is clearly linked to the recovery of the casino industry as the last time Macau’s GDP witnessed a quarterly growth was during the second quarter of 2014 when a 5.7 percent increase was recorded.