Gaming insights Gaming

Light at the end of the tunnel for Macau gaming

Written by Ben Blaschke

It came as no surprise to anyone that gaming revenue in Macau fell for a 13th straight month in June, dropping to 17.4 billion patacas for the first time since November 2010. Yet for the first time since gross gaming revenues began trending downwards in June 2014 with a tiny 3.7 percent drop that barely hinted at the drama to come, there appears to be some much needed good news for Macau hidden among the ongoing doom.

In fact, there are not only one but four markers that should have Macau’s operators at least confident that the market is steadying.

The first of these is the fact that June’s 36.2 percent drop in gross gaming revenue was considerably less than the 38.3 percent predicted by analysts, which leads to marker number two – while revenue has fallen for 13 months in a row, the percentage drop has now eased for four consecutive months following February’s brutal high of 48.6 percent.

Third is the fact that Galaxy Entertainment Group’s market share rose by an impressive 3.8 percent to 22.3 percent – moving past SJM into second spot behind Sands China Ltd. June was the first full month of operation for Galaxy’s two new properties, Galaxy Phase II and Broadway Macau, which opened on 27 May and will boost confidence among the other concessionaires that they will be able to attract customers as their own new properties open over the next two years.

And most important of all is the surprise announcement by the Macau government that they would ease some of the travel restrictions implemented 12 months ago, with Chinese passport holders now able to stay for seven consecutive days rather than the previous five.

Of course, this welcome news may be quickly forgotten should the government push ahead with its proposal to ban smoking completely in Macau’s casinos with the concessionaires continuing to fight these smoking laws but for the time being at least there is light at the end of the tunnel.