ompared with May, revenue shrank 20 %. The city’s gambling industry will continue to be hurt by “temporary softness in VIP gaming as the World Cup approaches its final stages,” Deutsche Bank AG analyst Karen Tang said in a note to clients last night. “We expect market growth to resume sequentially in August which is traditionally the summer travel season.”
Chinese economic growth, coupled with a lending boom, is fueling a boom in revenue for casinos in the only place in the country where they are legal. J unket operators, who bring high-limit gamblers to the city and lend them money, are benefiting from a “sudden increase” in credit, Deutsche Bank’s Tang said in a June 11 report.
CLSA Ltd.’s Macau Gaming Index has outperformed Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index by 40 % this year, according to a June 25 note to clients from analyst Aaron Fischer. SJM Holdings, the casino operator with the biggest market share in Macau, has gained 54 % this year while the stock benchmark has dropped 8 %.
Macau casino gambling revenue surged 57 % in the first quarter to about us$ 5 billion as China’s economic growth accelerated to 11.9 %, the fastest pace in almost three years. This month’s number means second-quarter revenue for casinos in the former Portuguese colony increased 77 % to us$ 5.4 billion, according to Bloomberg calculations using government data. The total for first half rose 67 % to us$ 10.4 billion.
Revenue growth from high rollers placing wagers at baccarat tables where the lowest bet per hand is us$ 1,221 was about 124 % in May compared with 58 % for “mass- market” bettors, Deutsche Bank’s Tang had said in a separate note. The bets at Macau’s “VIP tables” can go up to as much as us$ 244,346 a hand.
Chinese lending boom has boosted the capital of junket operators, who also act as debt collectors and receive commissions from casinos. Four of Hong Kong’s five listed casino companies have gained by at least 24 % this year.
Wynn Macau, the unit of the casino company founded by billionaire Steve Wynn, fell 1.7 % yesterday, trimming its gain this year to 35 %. Galaxy Entertainment Group fell 2.5 %, paring this year’s climb to 32 %.
Besides, Sands China, the unit of billionaire Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands, has advanced 24 % in 2010 while Melco International, one of the partners that control Melco Crown Entertainment, has lost 13 % of its market value.
VIP gamblers contribute about 70 % of Macau’s gambling revenue, CLSA analysts Fischer and Huei Suen Ng estimate. At Galaxy’s flagship casino StarWorld, high-limit tables account for 85 % of revenue, according to Chief Financial Officer Robert Drake.
Macau surpassed the Las Vegas Strip as the world’s biggest gambling hub in 2006. Bettors wagered a record 119 billion in Macau’s casinos last year, 9.7 % higher than in 2008.