Macau’s Gaming Inspection, and Coordination Bureau released its official figures for 4Q16 on Monday, citing year-on-year gross gaming revenue growth of 10 percent to MOP$60.4 billion on the back of strong VIP performance.
But Union Gaming analyst Grant Govertsen says those figures are misleading – pointing to mass market as the real driver of Macau’s recovery.
“Although the official data says mass tables grew 8 percent year-on-year, we estimate the real growth rate was closer to +13 percent after adjusting for the ongoing premium mass table reclassification scheme at several casinos.
“While mass market had already begun to grow on a year-to-year basis as of 2Q16 (+4.4 percent), the growth rate accelerated in 3Q16 (+10.8 percent) and likely accelerated again in 4Q16 (~+13 percent).”
Govertsen said that the 4Q16 figures released by the DICJ were in fact back to front in terms of the contributions of VIP and mass.
“It cannot be stressed enough that the headline growth rates in 4Q16, which showed VIP growing significantly faster than mass tables are, simply put, backwards,” he said.
“The reality is going to be a lot closer to VIP +7 percent and mass +13 percent year-on-year after we get the unadjusted data from the Big 6 operators. In other words, and contrary to misconstrued weekly data points, the strength seen in 4Q16 was not primarily driven by VIP. It was driven by mass.”