Photographer: Xaume Olleros/Bloomberg

Macau Gaming Revenue Falls 21.4% in Lull Ahead of Lunar New Year

Macau’s casino revenue fell 21.4 percent in January amid a lull before this month’s Lunar New Year holiday that’s traditionally a popular period for Chinese gamblers to visit the city.

Gross gaming revenue fell to 18.7 billion patacas ($2.3 billion), a 20th straight month of decline, according to data released by Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. That compares with the median estimate of a 22 percent drop from six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The decline was 21.2 percent in December.

January tends to be a weaker month before the peak Lunar New Year season starting Feb. 8, when the majority of mass market Chinese gamblers visit over the week-long public holiday, said Billy Ng, an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, before the data was released. Revenue has stabilized, helped by new resorts that opened last year targeting middle-class Chinese, he said.

Casino revenue had plunged 49 percent last February, after a crackdown on corruption by China’s government kept Chinese high-rollers away from Macau while the country’s slowing economy hurt the mass market segment. Gross gaming revenue in Macau fell 34 percent for the full year in 2015, a second straight year of declines.

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