reaking the figures down further, the gambling enclave of Macau saw revenues rise 7.3 % in January to us$ 3.358 billion, followed by 12% in February to us$ 3.4 billion, before hitting a monthly high of us$ 3.92 billion in March, an increase of 25.4% compared to the same month last year.
Overall, Macau’s lucrative VIP market accounted for us$ 7.2 billion of the total us$ 10.66 billion revenue generated between January and March, which represented a 9.8% improvement compared to the first quarter of 2012. However, as an overall percentage of mass gaming revenue, high roller business remained fairly static in Q1 at 67.79% compared to 67.84% in Q1 2012.
China’s only legal gambling resort has been growing steadily since overtaking Las Vegas as the world’s biggest gambling hub back in 20006. Now the island with a population of 555,000 people boasts 35 casinos with a total of 5,497 table games and 17,029 slot machines.
Nevertheless, American companies have still been part of the explosion in casino gambling in Macau, with operators such as Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and MGM Grand Paradise owing casinos in Macau. Las Vegas Sands owns its Macau properties through subsidiary company Sands China, and so far this year Las Vegas Sands (LVS) has seen its stock rise by more than 21% mostly due to exponential growth in Macau’s gambling market.
Commenting on investment potential going forward, RBC Capital Market’s John Kempf said: “Looking ahead, we remain positive on the Macau market but we also believe it is prudent to set conservative expectations for the remainder of the year, especially on the VIP side given the recent “resurgence” in this segment. We are estimating that market wide gross gaming revenue will increase 10.7% over 2012, with mass growth in the 20% range and VIP in the mid-single digit range.”