Gaming chips sit in a tray at the casino in a resort, in Macau, China. (Photographer: Xaume Olleros/Bloomberg)

High Rollers Help Macau Casinos Top Estimates Before Golden Week

(Bloomberg) -- Macau’s casino revenue was stronger than expected last month following disruptions caused by typhoons in August, providing momentum as the world’s largest gambling hub enters the Golden Week holidays.

Gross gaming receipts rose 16 percent to 21.4 billion patacas ($2.7 billion) in September, according to data released by Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau on Sunday. It was the 14th consecutive month of expansion, and compares with the median estimate for a 14 percent increase in a Bloomberg survey of nine analysts. Gaming revenue climbed 20 percent in August from a year earlier.

High Rollers Help Macau Casinos Top Estimates Before Golden Week

Golden Week, which started Sunday, has the potential to generate more revenue than last year. Wynn Macau Ltd. has said it expects a “very strong Golden Week” with its two properties, Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace, fully booked through the period. Parent company Wynn Resorts Ltd.’s shares on Friday closed at the highest level in more than a year after UBS analyst Robin Farley raised her price target to $174 from $149, citing strength in Macau’s high-end gaming.

Smaller junket operators, who provide credit to their big gamblers, have opened more gambling rooms in a move that’s expected to drive growth in high-stakes players, Morgan Stanley analysts led by Praveen Choudhary said in a report. Suncity Group, the largest junket operator in Macau, expects its October betting volume to surge between 30 percent and 35 percent from last year.

The number of tourists this week is expected to increase by as much as 5 percent from about 1.2 million visitors last year, the Macau Tourism Office estimates. The bulk of those, about 970,000, were from China. The number of mainland Chinese visitors to Macau surpassed 2 million in both July and August, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The territory is benefiting from economic expansion in China that’s outpacing the official 6.5 percent target, pent-up demand after the typhoons in August and the Chinese government’s decision not to restrict visas before the upcoming Communist Party leadership gathering in Beijing.

High-rollers from China have helped revive and sustain growth in Macau after President Xi Jinping’s campaign against corruption caused a two-year slump beginning in 2014, before bottoming out last year.

The typhoons disrupted operations in some casinos in the only Chinese territory where gambling is legal. MGM China Holdings Ltd. is delaying the opening of its MGM Cotai to January because of damage, it said Friday.