Macau, one of the best-known gambling destinations in the world, seems to be out of the crisis. The beginning of 2016 wasn’t very kind on the former Portuguese enclave, and things weren’t going in the right direction in terms of the gross gaming revenue. However, it seems Macau is finally back on the track.
According to experts, GGR for December should be around $2.4 billion, which would be a year-on-year increase of around 5%. If experts’ predictions come true, this will be the fifth month in a row Macau is posting positive year-on-year numbers.
Breaking the 26-month Draught
Macau was experiencing a decline for more than two years (26 months, to be precise). Things finally started to look up in August 2016, with a slight but significant 1.1% year-on-year increase. Things continued going in the right direction in September and October, with 7.4% and 8.8% growth respectively.
November turned out even stronger, as there was 14.4% year-on-year boost. Concluding with November, the casino industry brought in a total of $25.5 billion, with December hovering right around the $2.5 billion mark.
Growth of the Mass Market
One of the things that really helped Macau get unstuck was the growth of the mass market. Many Macau casinos cater primarily to high-rollers. These are good customers, but maintaining the income from high-rollers alone requires a lot of work and brings with it many obstacles. Gambling crackdowns in China and some other Asian countries certainly didn’t help Macau.
However, there’s been a significant positive trend among “ordinary” gamblers. Thanks to a sudden surge of the mass market, Macau casinos were able to finally get out of the red zone and start posting positive results once again. This indicates that Macau should probably change its business model somewhat and start paying much more attention to these casual gamblers.
These numbers seem to be in line with predictions of Christopher Jones of the Buckingham Research Group. Jones predicted the overall 9% year-on-year growth, with mass-market GGR surging to around 12%. At the same time, the group predicted VIP (high-roller) revenues would either remain unchanged or would turn slightly negative.