Macau’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) suffered a slight 0.4% year-on-year decline to MOP$25.84 billion (US$3.2 billion) in March, according to figures released by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
It was the second time in three months to start 2019 that Asia’s gaming hub has experienced a fall, having previously gone 29 consecutive months of year-on-year growth.
However, the result was better than expected with earlier forecasts tipping a decline of around 5%. It was also the best month of the year in real money terms, edging out the MOP$25.37 billion Macau’s casinos took in during February and MOP$24.94 in January.
Analysts attributed the stronger than expected results to growth in the mass segment, while in the VIP segment JP Morgan’s DS Kim noted that Macau’s top three junkets enjoyed favorable luck with a win rate in the range of 3.4% to 3.5% compared with a historical average of 3.1%. VIP volume was down around 10%, Kim said.
Bernstein’s Vitaly Umansky, Eunice Lee and Kelsey Zhu concurred, stating that VIP GGR picked up in the last week of the month “helped by high hold in junket VIP.”