Macau Gaming Receipts to See ‘Visible’ Slowdown in Second Half

Macau gaming receipts are expected to see a “visible” slowdown in the second half of the year as high-stake gamblers contribute a smaller percentage of casino revenue, the city’s monetary authority said.

The VIP gaming segment, which caters to gamblers playing for high stakes, has been losing market share to the mass market, slowing overall industry growth, the Macau’s Monetary Authority said in a July research bulletin on its website.

While Macau counts on high-stakes bettors for two thirds of its revenue, the mass market is growing faster. The share of VIP in gaming revenue dropped to 68 percent in the first quarter of this year, from a peak of 74 percent in the second quarter of 2011, it said.

Casinos have sought to add more entertainment and family shows to draw the middle-class Chinese tourists who make up the mass market. While amateur gamblers play for smaller amounts, they offer operators fatter margins. Casinos typically pay commissions to middlemen who bring in the high rollers.

In the first quarter, Sands took the top spot in Macau’s mass-market casino business, overtaking SJM Holdings, whose founder, Stanley Ho, built Asia’s largest gambling empire by catering to high rollers. Sands’ mass gambling revenue in Macau jumped 63 percent to a record $863 million for the quarter, while SJM’s rose 5 percent to about HK$6.22 billion ($802 million), earnings statements show.

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