Macau Gaming Revenue Touches the Lowest Level in a Year

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(Bloomberg) -- Macau gaming revenue in September touched the lowest level in a year as casinos continue to be slammed by economic and geopolitical troubles.

  • Gross gaming revenue for Macau casino operators was 22.1 billion patacas ($2.7 billion) in September, up 0.6% from a year earlier, according to data Tuesday from the Gaming Inspection & Coordination Bureau. That’s roughly in line with the median analyst estimate of a 1% rise.

Key Insights

  • The weak performance follows two months of declines, indicating casinos remain vulnerable to headwinds including the trade war between the U.S. and China that has weakened the economy and the yuan, social unrest in Hong Kong, and regulatory uncertainty over high-roller junkets.
  • While the result was in line with forecasts, it was far from impressive as casinos faced an easy year-on-year comparison. Typhoon Mangkhut hit Macau in September 2018, forcing a 33-hour shutdown of the gambling mecca for the first time in its history.
  • Analysts were expecting Macau’s casino business to strengthen in the second half of the year. But the outlook has darkened as Hong Kong protests have held back tourists visiting Macau. At the same time, China’s moves to clamp down cross-border gaming have squeezed liquidity for the junkets, hurting the VIP segment.

Market Performance

  • The Bloomberg Intelligence index of Macau casino operators was up 0.7% as of 10:07 a.m. in Hong Kong on Wednesday, with MGM China Holdings Ltd. and SJM Holdings Ltd. gaining more than 1.6% while Wynn Macau Ltd. and Sands China Ltd. fell.
  • The casino gauge dropped 1.1% in September, after an 11% decline in August.

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