The Macau casino industry appears to be finally experiencing a recovery after the gaming inspection and coordination bureau reported a 14% increase in gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the world’s largest gambling hub in November 2016. Macau’s casino industry began to recover in August 2016, and November saw its fourth consecutive month of revenue growth.
This is because the casino industry has been shaken by the anti-corruption crackdown initiated by the Chinese government for more than 27 months, and as the VIP gambling sector promoted by the Chinese government collapsed, Macau’s six major game operators tried to diversify their portfolios by focusing on the mass market game sector and adding non-gambling facilities. The opening of Win Palace in August 2016 and Macao in Paris in September also helped boost GGR.
Brokerage firm Sanford C. Bernstein previously projected a GGR of about 13.9% to 15% in November compared to the same period a year earlier, and their estimates did not deviate significantly. GGR combined resulted in 18.79 billion MOPs in November, an increase of 14.4%. The last time the Macau casino industry recorded double-digit growth was in April 2014. From January to November 2016, Macau’s GGR was 234 billion MOP, down 4.3% from the same period in 2015.
Sophie Lin, credit analyst at S&P Global Ratings, estimates that by the end of this year, the overall decline in GGR in Macau will be around 3% to 6%, but in 2016 the situation will improve and the GGR will increase by 10%. In a statement, Lin said, “The opening and increase of new casinos, better infrastructure linking Macau to mainland China, and stability of regulations are key factors that will fuel the rebound in the gaming industry.”
With Macau’s GGR growing for the fourth consecutive month, the casino industry seems finally in recovery mode, but game analysts don’t want to predict the worst is over too soon, and have warned six game operators in SJM Holdings, Sands China, Galaxy Entertainment, Win Macau, Melco Crown, and MGM China not to be optimistic about their recovery yet.
Macau’s economy is heavily dependent on the casino industry, and the 27-month consecutive decline has also had a significant impact on the Macau economy. Statistics and Census Bureau finally showed signs of growth after Macau’s economy declined for the first time in two years and recorded 4% growth during the third quarter of 2016. Growth in Macau’s GDP is clearly related to the recovery of the casino industry, as the last time Macau’s GDP recorded quarterly growth was 5.7% in the second quarter of 2014.