Gross gaming receipts in June rose to 19.99 billion patacas, 25.9 percent year on year, according to data released by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) on Saturday. That compares with the median prediction for a 30 percent increase in a Bloomberg survey of 11 analysts and follows a 24 percent jump in May.
While the results marked the 11th-straight month of increased revenue, the gaming industry is still recovering from a two-year slump triggered by a crackdown on corruption in the mainland.
New casinos opened by companies including Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands are wagers that revenue will keep accelerating amid increasing competition. Casino operators, prodded by a government dependent on the revenue the gaming sector pulls in, have begun to offer more non-gambling attractions, from Broadway-style shows to a Ferris wheel, to diversify the tourism market.
Las Vegas Sands shares have risen 19.2 percent this year though June 30. Wynn Resorts was up 55 percent and; MGM Resorts Inter- national, which owns one casino and is building another in Macau, was up 8.5 percent.
Month-to-month, June revenue was down 12.1 percent. The growth in gaming revenue is the highest since February 2014 and reflects the trough the industry was struggling to emerge from last June, when receipts were the lowest since 2010. Still, policy risks remain as the local and mainland authorities put in new regulations to deter capital outflows from the mainland, including facial recognition technology on automated teller machines to curb money laundering.
Bloomberg Intelligence’s index of Macau gaming stocks rallied 26 percent this year through Friday. Wynn Macau surged 48 percent in the period, while Galaxy Entertainment Group jumped 40 percent.
Gaming gross revenue in the first half of the year reached 126.4 billion patacas, up 17.2 percent year on year.
Meanwhile, the Director of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, Paulo Martins Chan has said that the government is reviewing whether it would need to propose amendments to the law regulating the city’s gaming industry, as part of its preparatory work for the upcoming bidding process for gaming concessions and sub-concessions – as the city’s three gaming concessions and three sub-concessions will expire between2020 and 2022.
According to Law 16/2001 regulating the gaming sector, which
came into force in 2001, a maximum of three gaming concessions were to be granted.
The government announced the results of the gaming concession bidding process and granted concessions to SJM, Wynn and Galaxy in early 2002.
In late 2002, the government allowed Galaxy to set up a sub-concession relationship with Venetian — by making amendments to Galaxy’s concession contract with the government, according to the bureau’s DCIJ website.
Following the issuance of the first sub-concession, SJM and Wynn also signed sub-concession agreements with MGM and Melco in 2005 and 2006 respectively, according to the bureau’s website.
According to the Macau Post Daily Chan reaffirmed that once the gaming concessions and sub-concessions expire, a bidding process would be held rather than the government simply renewing the agreements.
Chan also said the government was now carrying out preparatory work for its launch of the bidding process, including reviewing whether there was a need for amendments to the law regulating the gaming sector.
When asked by the media whether the government will allow the continuation of three sub-concessions, Chan said that the government had not yet made a decision on the matter.
According to Law 16/2001, a gaming concession cannot exceed 20 years.
The same law also states that the chief executive is allowed to extend gaming concessions for a maximum of five years under special circumstances.
Any proposed changes to the gaming industry law would have to be submitted by the government to the Legislative Assembly (AL) for debate and vote.
Chan also revealed that his bureau has about 100 casino on-site inspectors, adding that the number was still short of the required human resources. He added that his bureau has already held a recruitment examination for 26 additional casino inspectors.