he region’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau said Tuesday casinos collected $2.4 billion from gamblers during the month, a decline of less than 1 percent and the smallest drop in 21 months.
Tourism increased during the Chinese New Year holiday, helping a market that has suffered over the troubled Chinese economy and a government crackdown on corruption that ensnared high-end junket operators and slowed gambling activity by big spending customers.
“Clearly the Chinese New Year period was solid, especially as it relates to high-margin mass market business,” said Union Gaming Group principal Grant Govertsen, who is based in Macau. “We continued to observe higher than normal levels of mass-market foot traffic in the days and weeks after Chinese New Year ended.”
The month also was helped by Monday’s extra day thanks to leap year.
Govertsen said average daily gross gaming revenue during February was 4 percent higher than in October, which included the lucrative Golden Week holiday, and was 13 percent higher than the average of the previous two months.
Las Vegas Sands Corp., Wynn Resorts Ltd. and MGM Resorts International all operate resorts in Macau and are expanding their holdings, adding to a market that has three dozen large and small resorts.
Wynn Resorts plans to open the $4.1 billion Wynn Palace in June. Las Vegas Sands said it will open its $2.7 billion Parisian in September and MGM Resorts said last month it pushed back the opening of $3 billion MGM Cotai — originally set for December — to early next year.
Macau’s overall gaming revenue market fell to a five-year low in 2015 and there is still some caution by analysts.
“We don’t view the February result as emblematic of a distinct change in the market,” said Deutsche Bank gaming analyst Carlo Santarelli. “The holiday periods, given the influx of mass visitors and constrained VIP activity, are a bit more robust, on a relative basis, to the surrounding periods.”