Outside of the financial markets, the small peninsula of Macau is the place where China does its gambling.
Or at least it was until the government began a crackdown on graft, corruption, and excessive luxury spending by officials two years ago.
Now the high-rollers who once played such a crucial part in the economy are gone.
Revenues in Macau have cratered and there’s no sign of them recovering.
Top gamblers didn’t attend the opening of Studio City, the latest casino to open in Macau on October 27.
The project — which was opened by Australian billionaire James Packer and Lawrence Ho, the son of Macau’s first casino billionaire, Stanley Ho — was allotted 250 tables. None of them were for high rollers.
Analysts at Macquarie see the trend lasting for a while longer and warns that catering to the mass market won’t make up for lost high-roller revenue:
We expect Macau GGR will enter a third year of decline (-13%) in 2016 and a flat growth in 2017 before a low single-digit recovery in CY18. We continue to believe that Macau GGR has gone ex-growth in the next four years, while there are still some bullish investors expecting a V shape recovery.
And here’s what that looks like:
Overall revenue follows the downward trend of VIP earnings, with little hope small-time gamblers will make up the difference. This is bad news for casino operators, who have invested heavily in Macau. And unsurprisingly it’s bad for their share prices too:
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