December Was Impressive For Macau Gambling

30 December 2012 – By Jane Spiegel

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Macau represents the gambling Mecca of the Chinese coasts and official statistics support this idea. December revenues reached a new record of $ 3.54 billion, up 19.6 percent and well ahead of forecasts, driving the annual 2012 revenue count to $ 38 billion. Reports of the Reuters news agency said strong visit numbers during the holiday season helped boost revenues to new highs. This comes after a fall in revenues due to lower spending by VIP customers, slower economic growth in China and tighter scrutiny of money transfers. In comparison with 2011 when revenues rose 42.2 percent, in 2012 annual gambling revenue rose 13.5 percent.

Despite the record figures, analysts pointed out that no new supply set to open in Macau for the next two years, a new anti-smoking regulation that comes into effect in 2013 and tighter scrutiny over the VIP junket market will surely affect the official revenue figures for 2013. The report released by Reuters says a key factor in propelling revenue gains in 2012 was represented by the higher spending by China’s burgeoning middle class. Online casino companies that operate also in Macau hope that volumes in the high end VIP market will stabilize and accelerate further on the back of stronger economic growth.

Online and land based casino industry executives estimate for 2013 a gambling revenue growth range from 5-10 percent. The central government is keen to maintain Macau’s growth at a similar pace to the country’s GDP rate and therefore, authorities are pushing to diversify the gambling-dependent hub with more leisure offerings in the hope of attracting a wider visitor base. For example, the Macau government launched in November a wedding incentive scheme that grants approximately $ 40 per local guest for their activities in Macau. This kind of measures plus an improving economy in China and infrastructure developments meant to shorten the journey from the mainland to Macau have made analysts to remain optimistic for Macau’s outlook. Giant casino firms from all over the world, which operate important online casino websites, have opened businesses in Macau hoping to profit from the development of this area.

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