International edition
October 19, 2021

Gross gaming revenues in March fell 16.3% in the gambling hub

Macau slump dampens James Packer's casino fortunes

Macau slump dampens James Packer's casino fortunes
James Packer's hopes of a revival in fortunes at the world's largest gambling hub, Macau, have been dashed after casino revenues fell more than expected in March.
Macau | 04/04/2016

James Packer's hopes of a revival in fortunes at the world's largest gambling hub, Macau, have been dashed after casino revenues fell more than expected in March.

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rown Resorts - 53 per cent owned by Mr Packer and the subject of a possible buyout plan by the gaming magnate - has a large exposure to Macau through its 34 per cent stake in the Lawrence Ho-run Melco Crown Entertainment.

After a horrid 20 months of straight declines, a glimmer of hope emerged with February's numbers showing revenues were virtually steady on a yearly comparison while on a month-by-month basis, it marked a 5 per cent gain on January's revenue numbers.

Analysts pointed out the February numbers were partially strong due to the annual Chinese New Year celebrations falling during the month and the statistics for March appear to confirm it was a one-off bounce.

Gross gaming revenues in March fell 16.3 per cent to 17.9 billion patacas ($2.9 billion) compared with 21.4 billion patacas for the same period in 2015. The consensus estimate from analysts had been for a 15.5 per cent fall.

Bernstein Research said casino operators including Melco would increasingly focus on the mass market given the tough outlook for VIP revenues as China's anti corruption campaign continues to hit sentiment.

"Although unlikely to disappear as some fear, the VIP model is structurally challenged by China's anti-corruption campaign dampening high-end spend, junket liquidity stress and junkets facing potential regulatory headwinds in the near-term," Bernstein said in a note to clients on Friday.

The Los Angeles-based executive held several meetings in March connected with the buyout process, with Blackstone Real Estate remaining part of discussions.

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