espite analysts' expectations for Macau's revenue to rise between 7 to 12 percent, official figures show revenue grew 5.7 percent in February (USD 3.02 billion), according to data from Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination bureau showed on Thursday. Still, this marks the 19th month of consecutive gains in the world’s largest gambling hub, and the third highest in the past 12 months,as confirmed by the bureauon Thursday.
The number of visitors during the national holiday week rose 6.5 percent in the former Portuguese colony, preliminary government data showed.
Revenues have rebounded in the special administrative region after plunging to five-year lows due to slowing economic growth and a widespread crackdown on corruption starting in 2014.
However, revenues still remain far off highs hit in 2014 and are around monthly tolls seen in 2012, Thomson Reuters Datastream showed. tmsnrt.rs/1VHwU5Z
Fourth-quarter earnings from casino operators including SJM Holdings and Galaxy Entertainment this week have been better than analyst expectations as gambling demand strengthened in the territory.
MGM China’s $3.4-billion casino resort opening was also in February, just ahead of China’s Lunar New Year Holiday.
Macau has seen wealthier tourists and more overnight visitors over the past few months as the tiny enclave pushes to diversify its offerings away from glitzy casino halls.
Entertainment, an array of dining options and leisure facilities have expanded, prompting overnight visitors to surge by nearly 10 percent last year, boosting Macau’s overall development.
Macau’s gross gaming revenue could hit $60 billion by 2022 as the number of visitors from China’s lower tier cities increase, coupled with higher visitor spending, Morgan Stanley analyst Praveen Choudhary said.
Infrastructure developments including high-speed train extensions and a bridge connecting Hong Kong, Macau and neighbouring city Zhuhai, set to start operating in the next two years, are also likely to boost revenues, analysts say.
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