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Macau Gambling Revenues Down for a Third Year in a Row

- January 2, 2017 By Oliver Young -

The industry has been showing signs of improvement, especially towards the end of the year.

The Macau gambling industry will probably recover, despite revenue drop.

The past few years have definitely not been great for Macau and its gambling industry. Many see this decline as a result of the newly adopted approach of the Chinese government towards gambling.

China started tackling illegal gambling and what is considered an illegal gambling operation according to the laws in mainland China and that caused a drop in the number of visits of Chinese gamblers and especially high-rollers to Macau.

The Macau gambling industry has been falling for several years, and in June 2015 it recorded a significant drop which and that has triggered an alarm. Many feared that the decrease in gambling revenue will hurt Macau’s economy as gambling is one of the important sources of income.

The decreasing trend continued in 2016 and in the first half of the year the gambling revenue dropped even below the expected level. The new Chinese policy definitely took its toll.

A 3% Drop in 2016

The annual figures for 2016 show that the overall gambling revenue in this Chinese territory is down for a third year in a row. Macau is still one of the largest gambling hubs in the world, but its gambling industry is certainly not what it used to be.

Official figures show that gambling revenue dropped by more than 3 percent. The annual gambling revenue for 2016 was $28 billion (223 billion patacas – one Macanese pataca is worth 0.13 USD at the moment). That is in the range which was predicted by analysts who figured that gambling revenue in Macau would fall by 3-4%. It should be noted that the gambling revenue for December 2016 was 8% higher compared to the figure for the previous year.

The Industry Will Recover, It Seems                                                

Everything is not so grim for the Macanese gambling industry, as new casino resorts have been opened in the last quarter of the year. Experts feel that that is the key reason why the gambling revenue for December was much higher.

It is even reported that many Chinese high-rollers have returned to Macau, after they steered away from the territory since 201, which is when President Xi Jinping announced the new anti-corruption campaign.

It seems that tackling gambling isn’t a top priority for the Chinese authorities anymore. However, it is not easy to predict how long will it take for the key players in the Macau gambling market – Wynn Macau, MGM China, Sands China, SJM Holdings and few others to recover from the downfall.

Macau is still the only place in China where gambling is legal, and based on a serious long-term analysis, it seems that the industry is moving towards recovery. If we know that some of the largest operators are planning on opening new casino locations in both 2017 and 2018 it seems that the upcoming few years might go particularly well for Macau’s gambling operators.

However, Macanese authorities are not going to risk anything, as they have already pushed for development of non-gambling amenities. It has been reported that Macau no longer wants to rely on gambling as its primary source of income.

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