Business

Macau casinos post first annual revenue gain in 3 years

Gambling revenues in Chinese territory rise for first time in three years

MACAU: Gaming revenue in the Chinese territory of Macau rose for the first time in three years last year as high-end punters' appetite for gambling recovers after a protracted government campaign against shows of wealth among public officials and slowing economic growth.

Figures from Macau's Gaming Inspection and Coordination bureau yesterday showed revenues rose 19 per cent for last year to 265.7 billion patacas (S$44.2 billion).

Analysts had expected last year's full-year growth of 18 to 20 per cent.

The former Portuguese colony - now a special administrative region - is clambering back after revenue plunged to five-year lows in 2014.

But revenue is still far from the highs hit ahead of 2014, hovering only around monthly tolls seen in 2011, data from Thomson Reuters Datastream showed.

Monthly gambling revenue last month was up 15 per cent to 22.7 billion patacas, slightly lower than analysts' expectations for growth of 17 to 20 per cent.

COTAI ADVANTAGE

Winnings have been higher for operators such as Sands China, Wynn Macau, Galaxy Entertainment Group and Melco Resorts & Entertainment which have casinos on the Cotai strip - a stretch of reclaimed land which now boasts some of Macau's most opulent properties.

SJM Holdings and MGM China Holdings, which do not yet have a presence on Cotai, have seen market share erode ahead of new openings along the strip.

MGM is due to open its new resort this month while SJM is not expected to open until closer to 2019, analysts said. - REUTERS

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