Macau Casino Revenue Growth Slows to 7.3%, Meets Esimates

Macau casino gambling revenue rose 7.3 percent in May, the slowest pace since July 2009, matching analysts’ estimates.

Gambling revenue for the six casino operators in the former Portuguese colony rose last month to 26.1 billion patacas ($3.3 billion), the second highest level on record, from 24.3 billion patacas a year earlier, according to the Chinese city’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. The median estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News was for 7 percent growth.

“Despite the slow growth, May 2012 is actually the second best month on record, only behind 26.8 billion patacas in October 2011,” Aaron Fischer, an analyst at CLSA Ltd., wrote in an e-mail yesterday. “We expect gaming revenue growth to recover in June with a lower” comparable base of 20.8 billion patacas.

Macau last year posted a 43 percent increase in gambling revenue for May, when China’s Labor Day holidays started on a Sunday. The so-called “Golden Week” holidays began on a Tuesday this year.

The revenue result “is a denominator problem more than an overall numerator deceleration,” Jon Oh, a New York-based analyst for CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets, wrote May 31 in a note to clients, in which he forecast growth would be the slowest in three years.

Casino companies operating in Macau declined in Hong Kong trading. MGM China Holdings Ltd. (2282) slumped 6.2 percent to HK$11.72, the lowest close since Feb. 6, and SJM Holdings Ltd. (880) fell 4.1 percent to HK$13.22. Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. (27) slid 4.3 percent, Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. (6883) dropped 5.2 percent and Sands China Ltd. (1928) retreated 0.8 percent.

In U.S. trading, Melco Crown dropped 4.5 percent to $11.225 at 11:40 a.m. in New York.

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