Macau’s gross gaming revenue last month touched the lowest level in a year as casinos continued to be slammed by economic and geopolitical troubles.
Gross gaming revenue for Macau’s six casino operators was 22.07 billion patacas in September, up 0.6 per cent from a year earlier, according to data released by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) on Monday. That’s roughly in line with the median analyst forecast of a 1 per cent rise.
Month-on-month, revenue was down 9 per cent. In the first nine months of the year, revenue fell 1.7 per cent to 220.3 billion patacas.
In September last year, the gaming sector’s gross gaming revenue amounted to 21.9 billion patacas.
The weak performance followed two months of declines, indicating Macau casinos remained vulnerable to headwinds including the trade war between the US and China that has weakened the economy and the yuan, social unrest in Hong Kong, and – according to analysts – 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, analysts pointed out.
Typhoon Mangkhut hit Macau in September 2018, forcing a 33-hour shutdown of local casinos.
Analysts had been expecting Macau’s casino business to strengthen in the second half of the year. But the outlook has darkened as violent anti-government protests and vandalism by rioters in Hong Kong have held back tourists visiting Macau. At the same time, the central government’s moves to clamp down on cross-border gaming have squeezed liquidity for Macau’s junkets, hurting the VIP segment, analysts said.
Macau casino stocks didn’t trade on Monday because of the National Day holiday.
The Bloomberg Intelligence index of Macau casino operators fell 1.1 per cent in September, after an 11 per cent decline in August.