Macau gross gaming revenue rose 15 percent in December, lifting the Chinese gambling enclave to its best year in three as VIP gamblers returned to the tables.
December gaming revenue increased to $2.83 billion, bringing the full-year total to $33 billion, the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau said Monday.
Macau gaming revenue rose 19 percent for the year, the first annual gain since 2013, as fears eased over a government corruption crackdown and real estate prices rose, giving high rollers a greater sense of wealth.
The full-year total is the largest since 2014, when Macau posted gross gaming revenue of $43.7 billion.
Wall Street analysts expect Macau’s gaming revenue gains to continue in 2018 amid continued strong economic growth in China and as new megaresorts open. Union Gaming forecasts gaming revenue will rise in the mid-teens this year, while Fitch Ratings forecasts growth in the high single digits.
“We believe that volumes across virtually all segments were strong for most of December,” Union Gaming said in a note Monday. “Even the low end of the market is seeing a resurgence with notable increases in tour group volumes based on our on-the-ground observations.”
MGM Resorts International will open its second casino on the Chinese gaming peninsula this month. The $3.4 billion casino will feature nearly 1,400 rooms and 50,000 square feet of retail space.
The revival in Macau helped drive stock gains for Wynn Resorts Ltd. and Las Vegas Sands Corp., which generate more than 50 percent of their revenue from Macau. The peninsula only accounts for about 20 percent of MGM’s revenue.
Shares of Wynn Resorts nearly doubled last year, while shares of Las Vegas Sands rose 30 percent.
The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.