Macau casino revenue falls for 10th straight month
Macau’s casino revenue fell in March for the tenth straight month as China’s corruption crackdown took a continuing toll on the city, figures showed Wednesday.
The city saw its second- worst monthly decline of 39 percent for March compared to the same month last year as Beijing encourages the semi-autonomous territory to diversify from gambling and reins in high-rolling visitors from the Chinese mainland.
Gross revenue from gambling for March this year was 21.49 billion patacas (US$2.69 billion), according to figures from the former Portuguese colony’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
The results were in line with an estimated 40 percent drop by nine analysts polled by Bloomberg News.
Revenue for the first quarter fell 36.6 percent to 64.78 billion patacas.
“We still expect the entire year to show negative growth, ( with) every month for the year to be negative,” CLSA gaming analyst Aaron Fischer told AFP.
“We’ve become more cautious on the sector because we’re seeing bigger declines in VIP (gamblers),” Fischer said.
“The anti- corruption measures in China have a negative impact on sentiment and people’s desire to travel to Macau.”
Fischer said he expects the second half to show an improvement helped by the opening of a new hotel and an expansion to an existing casino resort.
Casino revenue for the city plunged a record 49 percent year-on-year in February.
The fall has mostly been attributed to a corruption crackdown spearheaded by Chinese President Xi Jinping which has dented the VIP gaming market.
Xi stressed during a December visit that the territory’s economy must diversify away from casinos.
Macau, the only part of China where casino gambling is legal, overtook Las Vegas as the world’s casino capital in terms of revenue after the sector was opened up to foreign competition in 2002. Its gambling revenues are still multiple times that of the American city.