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Mass Movement: Macau Casino Metamorphosis Marches On by Muhammad Cohen

Instead of worrying, appreciate Macau’s unprecedented mass gaming led recovery likely unfolding over the rest of this year. The global casino capital’s transition from VIP gaming to mass market is showing its muscle, enabling first quarter Ebitda to rise even while gaming revenue fell. Beyond the numbers and stakeholder buzz at last month’s Global Gaming Expo Asia (G2E Asia) trade show and conference at Venetian Macao, crowds on the streets, casino floors and breakfast buffets announce Chinese tourists remain genuinely excited about visiting Macau despite slowing economic growth, trade tensions and expiring casino concessions.

Macau’s casino revenue rose 1.8% in May from a year earlier to 25.95 billion Macau patacas (MOP; US$3.24 billion), boosted by the May 1 Labor Day triggering a weeklong holiday. It’s just the second month in 2019 when gaming revenue grew, the other February, boosted by Chinese new year. Mass revenue in May grew in the low teens, VIP revenue declined 11-12% and VIP volume, or roll, fell in the high teens, JPMorgan analysts DS Kim and Christopher Tang estimate. For the year through May, gaming revenue decreased 1.6%.


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