Macau casinos report lower revenue

People take photographs in front of signage for Parisian Macao casino resort, operated by Sands China Ltd., a unit of Las Vegas Sands Corp., in Macau, China, on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. Photographer: Eduardo Leal/Bloomberg

HONG KONG: Gambling revenue in the Chinese territory of Macau dropped 8.5% in November year on year, hit by lacklustre demand from high roller gamblers due to slowing economic growth amid the ongoing Sino-US trade war and protests in neighbouring Hong Kong.

November’s figure of 22.9 billion patacas (US$2.8bil), the second weakest figure this year, comes as some high roller players delay trips to Macau, analysts said.

The figure was better than analyst expectations of a drop between 10-13%. It was down from October’s haul of 26.4 billion patacas which had been the highest figure in 2019.

While protests in the Asian financial hub of Hong Kong have caused transport disruption and deterred travel to the former British colony and then on to Macau, analysts and executives say the impact on gaming revenues has been minimal.

However the protests have added to other factors such as a softening Chinese economy and weakness in the Chinese yuan currency.

Tightened liquidity in the high roller VIP sector due to an attack by Chinese state media on Macau’s biggest junket operator Suncity, have also affected demand from big punters.

President Xi Jinping is due to visit Macau in December to mark 20 years under Chinese rule, an event that analysts say will likely put further pressure on VIP gaming revenues as big whales put off visits. — Reuters

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