Macau gaming figures on the up

By William Brown Updated
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The mass market growth of Macau’s casinos dramatically outpaced its flashier VIP counterparts in the third quarter, although the entire market remains down.

Calvin Ayre reports that Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau released figures on Friday that showed total casino gaming revenue of just US$612 million in the three months ending September 30, which is a whopping 93 per cent decline on the same period last year, but a 51 per cent improvement on the preceding quarter.

The VIP baccarat segment accounted for 48 per cent of the quarter’s total, a fraction of the same period last year, but up 51 per cent sequentially.

VIP’s share of the overall pie increased slightly from quarter two, but nonetheless took a back seat to mass market gaming for the seventh straight quarter.

Mass market gaming, including slots, gained, driven by a 77 per cent boost in mass baccarat revenue.

Interestingly, slot machine revenue fell 13 per cent from the second quarter, despite the sector adding 649 machines to its total in a bid to tempt electronic gambling fans.

About the only cause for celebration in the quarter was Macau Slot’s sports lottery, which reported football betting revenue nearly tripled from quarter two.

The return of European major league play caused football turnover to triple, while basketball betting enjoyed a similarly dramatic revenue surge.

Macau’s gaming market has posted six straight months of annual declines of at least 90 per cent and the recent Golden Week holiday failed to deliver the traditional surge of mainland gamblers.

Sanford C Bernstein analysts estimated the average daily gambling revenue was down 76 per cent from last year’s holiday period, despite Beijing approving the resumption of travel from Guangdong province in late September.

Macau’s casino tax revenue on the up

Macau’s casino may have turned a corner, with a 52.4 per cent increase in tax revenue reported by the Financial Services Bureau in Macau for August. 

Calvin Ayre reported in September that the figure, $76.8 million, was a marked increase from a month earlier.

Despite the substantial monthly increase, Macau is still a long way off from its normal revenue levels.

The gross gaming revenue reported by the casinos remains flat and is down 94.5 per cent year-on-year.

The total GGR for the city’s casinos was $166.38 million, an indication that the relaxation of border restrictions has not had a huge impact on visitation to Macau’s casinos.

At the end of August, the cumulative total GGR for casinos in Macau had only reached $4.552 billion, an 81.6 per cent decrease compared to the same period last year.

As a result, Macau was only able to receive about $2.85 billion in tax revenue from its gaming properties.

This is only 29.8 per cent of what it had received over the first eight months of last year, and is obviously impacting previous budget forecasts.

Macau had anticipated taking in about $520 million each month in gaming tax revenue and, with only four months left in the year, there’s no chance it will be able to recover all the losses.

The actual figures represent just 45.6 per cent of the forecasted take for the year and Macau has had to revise its end-of-year projections to reflect the shortfall.

Now, Macau believes it will receive a total of around $6.252 billion in gaming tax revenue by the time 2020 wraps up.

Gaming has always been a major source of revenue for Macau and out of the tax revenue collected in the first eight months of this year, has contributed about 75.3 per cent of the total tax revenue received.

That figure stands at $3.788 billion; however this is 65 per cent lower than what it was for the same period last year.

This drop, combined with additional and unexpected outlays needed to combat COVID-19 will see Macau with a deficit of $4.872 billion for the whole of 2020.

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