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Macau Gaming Revenue Drops In July Amid Hong Kong Protests

Region's Casino Operators Generate $3 Billion In Revenue In July

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Macau casinosGross gaming revenue in Macau dropped 3.5 percent year-over-year after casino operators reported $3 billion in revenue for July, according to data from the Gaming Inspection & Coordination Bureau.

The drop follows a two-month rebound in casino revenue for the world’s biggest gambling market. In June, the region saw a 5.9 percent increase year-over-year with $2.95 billion in revenue and May was the best month of 2019 for casino operators with $3.2 billion in gross earnings.

According to a Bloomberg report, most analysts predicted another year-over-year increase and that the protests in Hong Kong may be responsible for the drop in revenue. The protests are over a controversial an extradition bill proposed last February by the Hong Kong government, where they would hand over fugitives wanted for crimes in mainland China over to the mainland’s government.

The protestors are calling for a complete withdrawal of the bill in an effort to keep more of their sovereignty from the mainland. The protests have been going on for four months and some analysts claimed that the protests disrupted ferry service from Hong Kong to Macau.

The numbers for July haven’t been released yet, but tourism in June was at record levels for the region. But the unrest and a possible crackdown by the mainland government on both protestors and online betting operators are possible reasons that high roller action declined in July.

“VIP demand deteriorated sharply towards the latter half of July with no obvious reason, in turn suggesting it could be a short-term blip amid heightened media attention on Hong Kong, given escalated protests and junkets,” analysts from JPMorgan told Bloomberg.

Overall, 2019 has seen a downward trend for Macau’s gross gaming revenue. Despite the drop, casino stocks are up 11 percent on the year.