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Macau gaming revenues increase 21 percent in September to $3.6 billion

Macau casinos collected $3.6 billion from customers during September and analysts already are debating whether or not October’s results could surpass the single-month all-time record.

Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau said Thursday that casino revenues in the Chinese enclave grew more than 21 percent during the month. Through the first nine months of the year, gaming revenues have increased 17 percent above the industry-leading $38 billion collected by Macau casinos in 2012.

Las Vegas Sands Corp., Wynn Resorts Ltd. and MGM Resorts International operate casinos in Macau. All three companies are in the process of expanding their holdings in the region through developments on Macau’s Cotai Strip that will open over the next few years.

The September results could have been higher if not for the disruption in travel caused by Typhoon Usagi at the end of the month.

Also, results from the low-end mass-market crowd have slowed due to a ban on low-value tour groups. Analysts said that data point was a positive for Macau because it relieved congestion at border gates, roadways, and casinos, making it easier for higher-value customers to move around.

“Despite several factors that could have potentially disrupted visitation during the month, (September) appears to have finished strong,” Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets gaming analyst Steven Wieczynski told investors.

Macau is currently in the middle of the Chinese holiday of Golden Week.

The Macau Government Tourist Office reported that overall visitation to Macau during Golden Week is flat versus last year, but the higher-value mainland Chinese visitation is up 14 percent.

The all-time single month record for gaming revenue in Macau was $3.92 billion collected in March. Analysts said a boost from Golden Week could help casino operators crack the number in October.

“Macau revenues could reach a new record in October assuming a conservative 10 percent month-over-month growth, vs. last year’s 16 percent month over month growth,” Wells Fargo Securities gaming analyst Cameron McKnight told investors.

Union Gaming Group principal Grant Govertsen said gaming revenue trends have been strong during the first week of the month, however, “through the early days of the Golden Week holiday we are not hearing anything to suggest October will not be an all-time record.”

Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.

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