Casinos in Macau did better than expected in March. They won $3.23 billion, which was down 0.4 percent year-over-year but exceeded projections by analysts, who expected revenue to drop by 3 percent.
The revenue drop was mostly due to high roller gamblers playing less in Macau. VIP revenue dropped by double digits, while the rest of the gambling population generated a small increase in revenue. It was highlighted by the final week of March, which was the most profitable non-holiday weekend of 2019.
Despite the year-over-year drop, March’s numbers were up from February’s $3.17 billion and January’s $3.1 billion.
The end of March marks the end of the first fiscal quarter. During the first quarter, Macau casinos generated $9.4 billion in revenue, which is down 0.5 percent from last year’s first quarter numbers.
In 2018, the first quarter saw a 20 percent increase from 2017, making it very unlikely that Macau would be able to keep up that type of growth.
According to Forbes, mainland China’s slowed economic growth and Macau’s total ban on smoking in casinos have also added to the revenue drop. With high rollers gambling at other locations in Asia, it seems a pullback in revenue is likely.
Hotels in Macau were at a 92 percent occupancy. There are still plenty of tourists heading to the city, but they aren’t as likely to gamble large sums at the casinos.
In 2020, there will be three new hotel towers in the city, which according to some experts, should help spur gaming revenue growth.