After 2018 expansion, 2019 was a bad year for Macau gaming

In December, GGR was MOP22.84 billion (US$2.84 billion), a slip of 13.7 percent from a year earlier.

With eight months from twelve with GGR year-on-year decline for casinos, the numbers for full 2019 where MOP292.46 billion (US$36.3 billion), compared to MOP302.85 billion (US$37.59 billion) in 2018, a fall of 3.4 percent.

These numbers respond to data recently released by Macau regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ). The December 2019 indicators helped put the full-year firmly into negative territory. After an 8.5 percent y-o-y descent in November, in December, GGR was MOP22.84 billion (US$2.84 billion), a slip of 13.7 percent from a year earlier, the deepest decline in a month for 2019. Moreover, the full-year 2019 numbers were coming off the back of significant 2018 expansion, when GGR rose 14 percent year-on-year

Some experts tried to explain these December poor results saying that, during that month, China’s leader, President Xi Jinping, visited Macau, generating an increase in the security around the city and a tightening in the controls on visas to Macau for the mainland China consumer segment.

Although Q4 2019 data on the relative contribution to Macau GGR from the VIP segment versus the mass segment, won’t be available until a later date, info for the Q3 showed a -22.5 percent in high-roller GGR (vs. Q3 2018), and investment analysts had mentioned VIP drop as being the main factor in overall Macau gaming retrenchment in 2019. Year-end commentary from a number of brokerages has indicated that the second half of 2020 might see an improvement in the VIP gambling segment.