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Macau gaming revenue growth slowed in August as typhoon hit enclave

Updated September 1, 2017 - 5:27 pm

Macau gaming revenue growth slowed in August as the worst typhoon in 20 years shut down transportation service on the Chinese peninsula.

Tougher year-over-year comparisons also impacted the monthly growth rate.

August gross gaming revenue rose 20 percent to $2.81 billion, Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau reported Friday. That was a decline from more than 23 percent in each of the last three months.

The August data though did beat Wall Street expectations of 18 percent, which had been lowered after Hato, a Signal 10 typhoon with winds exceeding 100 mph, slammed head on into the Chinese gambling enclave on Aug 23. It knocked out ferry services and canceled all local and regional airports.

Macau’s August revenue had been on pace for near 30 percent growth prior to the storm as two full weekends of concerts by Hong Kong star Jacky Cheung attracted bigger crowds to the peninsula, Union Gaming’s Macau analyst Grant Govertsen said in a note to investors Friday.

Macau nonetheless is having a remarkable year as VIP clients return to the enclave following a government corruption crackdown launched in 2014.

That campaign kicked off 26 months of gaming revenue declines that ended in August 2016.

Macau gross gaming revenue has risen 19 percent over the first eight months of the year to $21.3 billion. The Chinese enclave is on pace to hit $30 billion in annual revenue for the first time since 2014.

The revival has helped boost the share price of American casino operators with a presence on Macau.

Shares of Wynn Resorts, which generates more than 60 percent of its revenue from the peninsula, rallied 3.2 percent Friday to $143.42, its highest since February 2015.

Shares of Las Vegas Sands rose 66 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $62.87 while MGM Resorts International added 25 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $33.21. Las Vegas Sands earns more than 50 percent of its revenue from Macau while MGM earns more than 20 percent from operations there.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.

Contact Todd Prince at tprince@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0386. Follow @toddprincetv on Twitter.

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