he casino industry there is now facing a host of headwinds, however, in particular a Beijing-led crackdown on corruption that has caused VIP gamblers to shy away from the baccarat tables.
September’s fall was also Macau’s steepest during the current downturn. Monthly gambling revenue fell an average of 4.5% over the previous year from June through August.
Still, shares of Hong Kong-listed casino companies rose sharply in Monday trading, with Las Vegas Sands Corp. LVS +1.00% unit Sands China Ltd. SCHYY -0.21% rising 7.1% to USD 5.54 and Galaxy Entertainment Group gaining 6.6% . That compares with a 1.1% rise in Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index.
Some analysts said that Macau’s poor revenue data was still slightly better than expected and that investors may also have been encouraged by a surge in tourist arrivals during China’s weeklong National Day holiday. Visitors to Macau over the first five days of the holiday rose 14.4% from a year earlier, Macau government data showed Monday. “But whether that will translate into revenue, no one knows,” said Billy Ng, analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “I don’t know if the stocks are up today for the right reason or the wrong reason,” he said.
Daiwa Capital Markets said in a report Monday that the Macau market would likely remain poor in October, citing continued weak gambling play from high-rollers and unseasonably low hotel room rates, among other factors.
Casino executives also said that the Macau government’s recent decision to further tighten restrictions on smoking in casinos could adversely affect revenue.