According to official Macau statistics, the December revenues in compliance with Chinese gambling laws have reached 28.25 billion patacas (around $3.54 billion). This figure represents an almost 20 percent increase, proving even the most optimistic forecasts wrong.
Overall annual revenue grew to $38 billion patacas (or $7.76 billion) thanks to a great-performing month of December. Macau still remains one of the very few places in China, where gambling is officially allowed, attracting thousands of Chinese gambling enthusiasts as well as foreign fortune-seekers.
This holiday season resulted in strong visit numbers, which subsequently brought the revenues to never-before-seen heights. The month of December reminded everyone about better times in Macau, which saw revenue falls throughout the year, mainly due to slowing economic growth in China, less visits and spendings by VIPs, problems with funds transfers, as well as ongoing battle with corruption in the country.
To provide a better understanding: the annual revenue from gambling in Macau grew 13.5 percent in 2012, compared to a 42.2 percent growth a year ago.
2013 is not looking bright either according to analysts, sighting an upcoming no-smoking regulation, further uncertainty over VIP junket market, and more casino outlets opening up during the next couple of years.
Chinese gambling news have the following notes from Reuters: “Higher spending by China’s burgeoning middle class has been a key factor in propelling revenue gains in 2012, offsetting a slowdown in VIP growth. Whether volumes in the high end VIP market will stabilize and accelerate further on the back of stronger economic growth is an issue over which analysts remain cautious.”
The current estimates for 2013 revenues are 5-10 percent, in line with the government’s efforts to keep Macau’s growth paced to the country’s GDP growth rate. The government and regulatory bodies are pushing for more diversity in the former colony, including other leisure activities besides gambling.
Analysts also have some positive outlooks for Macau, mentioning the constantly improving infrastructure, which among others will shorten the journey time from mainland China to Macau.