Last week, the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau released its report on “Monthly Gross Revenue from Games of Fortune” for October 2012. Here are the figures:
* 1 HKD = 1.03MOP (Unit:MOP million )
|Monthly Gross Revenue from Games of Fortune in 2012 and 2011|
|Monthly Gross Revenue||Accumulated Gross Revenue|
|Source: Macau DICJ|
Golden Week, an important celebratory and vacation period in China, comes in October. So the month typically marks the yearly high point for casino revenues. So, too, it appears, in 2012. In fact, last month was the all-time high water mark for casino “win” (i.e., the amount lost by bettors, which is what the casinos count as revenue).
The October figure can be taken in two ways:
1. the positive viewpoint: It’s a staggeringly high amount. Macau casinos in the aggregate took in $3.5 billion during the month. This would imply that gamblers put down bets totaling $70 billion+ over the period. That’s roughly the GDP of either Indonesia or the Netherlands. It’s also an all-time record for Macau, achieved during a period of austerity in China.
2. the negative: The year on year comparisons of Macau’s gambling revenue appear to have bottomed in July, with a +1.5% gain. That was followed by +5.5% and +12.3% in the two succeeding months. One might have hoped that the accelerating trend would continue in October, thereby providing more evidence that a market rebound is in progress. It didn’t. The yoy comparison of +3.2% is the weakest in recent memory, save July.
From an investment point of view, I find it interesting that the market has chosen #1, the bullish interpretation. All the casino stocks spiked up on publication of the figures. Not only that, but other stocks tied to a rebound in Chinese high-end consumer spending, like Chow Tai Fook Jewellery, did as well.
At the very least, the DICJ figures from May onward appear to be saying that the Macau gambling market is bouncing along the bottom. Stock price action seems to imply not only Hong Kong market belief that the situation won’t deteriorate from the current level, but that a period of stronger growth is imminent. If so, the biggest beneficiaries will be companies like Galaxy Entertainment and Sands China (I own shares in Galaxy and in LVS), which have recently opened new casinos in Cotai.