The historical performance of Macau’s casino industry tracks like a roller coaster ride.
First a long, steep rise in revenues for many years to catch up with and then easily surpass Las Vegas as the world’s gambling capital. The crest of this stage of the ride came in 2014. Monthly revenue comparisons with prior years then turned red for the first time in many years.
Macau casino gross gaming revenues by year – figures in MOP (Macau Pataca) million’s
They remained red throughout the entire course of 2015, and well into 2016 before the roller coaster began another climbing phase, but not before monthly revenues had almost halved from their peak.
The fall was put down to a number of factors. A housing price correction and general economic weakness in mainland China didn’t help. Neither did incidents like Huang Shan’s theft of $1.3 billion in high roller client funds, denting confidence in the VIP junket market.
But the driving force was arguably an anti-corruption crackdown in Beijing that turned its attention to money laundering through Macau turning the river of money flowing from China to Macau into more of a creek.
The picture has been a rosier one since 2016 (for the casinos not the players), with continued increases in monthly revenues, on track to return to heady figures of 2014 before the last slump started.
There are suggestions that another slump is on the way though.
The numbers show a marked slow down in September and October, both months narrowly missing a return to the red. And a just released financial report from Wynn Casinos, forecasts tough times are on the way.
US based Wynn Casinos earn the majority of their revenue from their Macau properties providing a good litmus test of conditions there. They reported revenue forecasts that were 20% down on expectations, leading to a 12% plunge in the company’s share price.