Saturday September 20,2014 : MACAU CHINESE HIGH SPENDERS LOOK ELSEWHERE (Update)
Macau operators concentrate efforts on attracting mass market cash betting patrons
Chinese high rolling gamblers are setting their sights on gambling destinations other than Macau as Chinese authorities clamp down on extravagance and corruption, Bloomberg reports.
According to Morgan Stanley Hong Kong analyst Praveen Choudhary, Chinese gamblers are boosting growth in casinos from Manila to Las Vegas as they fly under the Chinese authorities' radar, an analysis supported by MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts Ltd posting strong results recently attributed to a boost in baccarat, a card game favoured by Chinese gamblers
While the former Portuguese enclave remains the largest gambling hub worldwide, it has suffered declining gambling revenues over the last three consecutive months. Macau gambling revenues, however, remain seven times larger than the Las Vegas Strip.
Choudhary expects continued contraction of revenue from Chinese VIPs for the next six to nine months, saying Chinese hotel growth had been immediately affected by China's "anti-extravagance" campaign launched towards the end of 2012.
Kenneth Fong and Isis Wong, analysts for Credit Suisse back Choudhary's sentiment saying "Junket operators, which organize casino trips for wealthy Chinese VIPs, are bringing those gamblers to other locations such as Australia, Europe or the U.S. to avoid frequent appearance in Macau in light of the current sensitive political situation.”
In an effort to stay ahead, Macau resorts are increasing their efforts at attracting Mainland "mass market" cash-betting gamblers by allocating larger resources to this demographic. The mass market shift tends to provide wider margins than high rollers who rely on credit from Junket operators.
"The mass market shift is turning out to be quite lucrative and less volatile than the VIP business,” opined Mark Mobius, Chairman of Templeton Emerging Markets Group.