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Macau Casinos Post Best Month Of 2019, But Outlook Is Uncertain

Casinos Win $3.2 Billion From Gamblers In May, But Trade Trade War With U.S. Leaves Outlook Uncertain

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Macau casinos won $3.2 billion from gamblers in May, according to figures from the Gaming Inspection & Coordination Bureau.

The numbers represent a 1.8 percent increase year-over-year, but according to Bloomberg, analysts were expecting a 3 percent increase in May. Regardless of the missed projections, this is still the best month for Macau casinos this year.

May’s increase comes after the largest drop in gaming revenue in three years when casinos felt an 8.3 percent year-over-year drop in April. Analysts believe that even though there are signs of a bounceback with May’s numbers, full recovery for casinos in the region isn’t coming any time soon.

A shaky Chinese economy and a trade war with the U.S. has hurt high roller action in the region. Analysts are forecasting an overall drop in revenue for the full year and are citing geopolitical uncertainty as to the reason.

Casino stocks took a hit as well, dropping 20 percent in May. It was the biggest monthly decline in the industry’s stocks since September 2015. Wynn Macau Ltd. took the hardest hit, dropping 26 percent in May. For the year, industry stocks are up 3.2 percent.

With the forecast of Macau casino revenue uncertain, Reuters is reporting that the Chinese government is working to rebrand Macau as a family-friendly destination, instead of a gambling hub. Operators have invested $10 billion into non-gaming attractions before gaming licenses expire.

Other Asian countries have expanded their gambling industries as well, which could further hurt Macau’s revenue. Through the first five months of the year, gaming operators in the Philippines posted 11.4 percent growth.

Some experts, however, aren’t sure that the growth in the Philippines is related to the drop in Macau.

“I’m not sure that the Philippines and Macau would be in the same market,” David Schwartz, a UNLV professor specialized in the gaming industry told other media outlets. “Is it likely that people gambling in Filipino casinos would be in Macau if there were no casinos in the Philippines? I don’t know the answer to that.”