Macau gaming revenue up 29 percent in July

Macau gaming win continues to shoot the lights out in 2017.

Gaming win, or gross gaming revenue, on the Chinese peninsula jumped 29 percent in July to $2.86 billion, according to data posted Tuesday by Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.

It’s the fastest pace this year and best monthly performance in more than three years.

Revenue over the first seven months is up 19 percent compared with the same period last year to $18.5 billion.

That puts Macau, the world’s largest gaming region, on pace to surpass $30 billion in gaming win in 2017. In contrast, all Nevada casinos reported gaming win of $11.1 billion for 2016.

Revenue growth accelerated for the third straight month despite tougher comparisons with the year-earlier.

The trend bodes well for Wynn Resorts Ltd., Las Vegas Sands and MGM Resorts International, all of which operate casinos on Macau.

Wynn generates about 60 percent of its revenue from Macau, while Las Vegas Sands garners more than 50 percent. MGM Resorts, which will open a second casino in Macau later this year, currently generates slightly more than 20 percent of its revenue from Macau.

VIP clients continued to drive growth in July according to David Katz, analyst for Telsey Advisory Group. Hold percentage had little effect on the monthly numbers, he said.

A slight increase in the number of informal lenders, known as junkets, operating on Macau may have spurred growth, Katz said in a note to clients on Monday. Junkets service VIP clients visiting casinos on Macau.

A decrease in the junket business starting in 2014 led to a sharp decline in Macau gaming revenue over a 26-month period ending in August last year.

The expansion of Macau’s Las Vegas-styled Cotai strip built on reclaimed land has drawn gamblers away from Macau’s peninsula, a 15-minute drive away and home to MGM Macau and SJM’s Lisboa casinos.

Both MGM and SJM, which have yet to open casinos on Cotai, will be at a disadvantage until their openings, analysts said.

MGM is due to open at the end of the year and SJM has stated 2018, though construction of its Lisboa Palace has been stalled since June due to an accident.

But even on Cotai, where Sands has its gondola-filled Venetian casino and Eiffel tower replica, wooing customers has become tougher as wealthy customers become pickier on where they play, analysts said.

Ongoing infrastructure development, such as a new ferry terminal near Cotai which opened in June and a planned light rail service, are likely to help drive increasing numbers of visitors to the Cotai strip in future, analysts said.

In July, Macau saw the opening of the Hollywood-themed Roosevelt hotel which also includes a casino.

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

Reuters contributed to this report. Contact Todd Prince at tprince@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0386. Follow @toddprincetv on Twitter.

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