he numbers prompted Dave Bain of Sterne Agee to up his September growth estimate from 16 to 21 %. Cameron McKnight of Wells Fargo is now expecting 20 to 24 % growth, up from his prior forecast of 18 to 22 %.
Growth is rising even outside of Macau. Visitation to the eight casino boats out of Hong Kong is up 9% to 615,328 passengers in the first half of the year, Bloomberg reported. Those boats are owned by Genting Hong Kong and Success Universe Group, both of which trade on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Cheaper rooms and easier visa requirements are attracting mainland Chinese gamblers to the boats. Rooms are as low as us$ 52 a night compared to the us$ 175 a night Macau hotel rooms averaged in July.
Macau casino operators say the boats have little effect on their casinos.