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Macau casinos shatter single-day gaming record

Macau casinos broke a record for a single-day gaming revenue haul during the Chinese New Year celebration this month.

The $185 million in gross gaming revenues collected by Macau’s three dozen casinos on Feb. 8 was more than one-third of the $500 million in gaming revenues earned by Strip casinos in December.

The figure eclipsed the amount of combined gaming revenues ($141.3 million) collected in December by casinos in downtown Las Vegas, the Boulder Strip and Washoe County.

Macau casinos collected $23.4 billion in gaming revenues in 2010 and began 2011 with a $2.32 billion in revenue in January. February could bring an all-time monthly high.

“The general consensus in Macau is that Chinese New Year revenues were big, and above expectations, for both mass market and (high-end),” said Union Gaming Group principal Grant Govertsen, who is based in Macau. “The reported 9 percent increase in visitation translated into perhaps 25 percent gross gaming revenue year-over-year growth.”

Union Gaming said in a report to investors there were other signs pointing toward February possibly eclipsing last October’s Macau gaming revenue record of nearly $2.4 billion: mass-market gamblers, who normally stay home in the week following Chinese New Year, returned to traditional levels; and high-end customer play during Chinese New Year exceeded normal action.

The casino companies Govertsen thought would be the largest benefactors were Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Stanley Ho’s SJM Holdings.

Govertsen noted that The Venetian Macau added a 150-seat electronic gambling system featuring roulette, sic bo and baccarat. The equipment was supplied by Shuffle Master Gaming.

“We note that a recent install … is helping to drive win per day across its slot floor, well in excess of the house average,” Govertsen said. “It is also transforming a previously quiet portion of the floor into a livelier area.”

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871.

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