Macau Casino Revenue May Rise 40% to $2 Billion This Month

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:


By Frank Longid - (Bloomberg)

Casino revenue in Macau, the world’s biggest gambling hub, may grow as much as 40 percent this month to about $2 billion, according to Macquarie Securities Ltd.

Macau casino sales were HK$6 billion ($773 million) in the first 12 days of September, said Gary Pinge, Macquarie’s regional head for consumer and gaming research, in a note to clients today, citing unidentified people in the gambling industry. “If the market holds up for the remainder of September, it would represent 35 percent to 40 percent growth year on year,” he said.

Growth for the six casino operators in the former Portuguese colony is slowing because sales in the second half of last year were higher than in the first six months as the economy rebounded. Las Vegas Sands Corp., which derived 73 percent of 2009 revenue from Macau, in June forecast growth of more than 30 percent for the second half, slower than the 67 percent expansion in the first six months.

Casinos in Macau, the only place in China where they’re legal, may almost match August’s performance this month, Pinge said. “Macau’s gaming market is showing little sign of sequential slowdown,” he said. “Even August showed strong month-on-month growth in VIP gaming volumes.”

High-Stakes Gamblers

Wynn Macau Ltd. and other casino operators have increased revenue from so-called VIP gamblers after boosting the number of baccarat tables with minimum bets of 10,000 patacas or higher. High-stakes gambling accounted for at least 72 percent of the city’s casino revenue in the second quarter, compared with 67 percent for all of last year.

Wynn Macau rose 3.6 percent to HK$13.70 at the 4 p.m. close of trading in Hong Kong, the most since Aug. 19. Melco International Development Ltd., which has a venture with Australian billionaire James Packer’s Crown Ltd., added 4.1 percent to HK$3.55.

Pinge has an “outperform” rating on Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. and is “neutral” on Wynn Macau and billionaire Stanley Ho’s SJM Holdings Ltd.

Galaxy, part-owned by Permira Advisers LLP, fell 1.4 percent to HK$6.44, SJM gained 2.3 percent to HK$7.95 and Las Vegas Sands unit Sands China advanced 0.7 percent to HK$12.14.

MGM Resorts International, the biggest casino operator on the Las Vegas Strip, has an unlisted Macau venture with Stanley Ho’s daughter Pansy Ho, MGM Grand Paradise SA. Pansy Ho is the older sister of Lawrence Ho, biggest shareholder and chief executive of Melco International.

SJM had the biggest market share of the casino operators in Macau with 29 percent followed by Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd., Melco’s joint venture, with 19 percent, CLSA Ltd. analyst Aaron Fischer said in a note to clients last month. Sands China had 18 percent, Galaxy had 14 percent and MGM Grand Paradise’s market share was 7 percent, Fischer estimated.

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