DICJ chief sees signs Macau GGR stabilizing

Paulo Martins Chan, the director of Macau’s gaming regulator, believes the decline in gross gaming revenue (GGR) should slow down this year.

The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau chief made the comments in an interview with Radio Macau. “The most difficult times are now behind us. I think that, if there’s a decline this year, it will be a slight decline,” said Chan.

Gaming revenue in Macau declined 34.3 percent in the year ended Dec. 31, 2015 compared to the year prior, a result of China’s economic slowdown and Beijing’s crackdown on corruption.

After 21 straight months of GGR decline in Macau, February saw a slight improvement, with a near-flat 0.1 percent decline in GGR for the month at MOP19.5 billion (US$2.4 billion), according to the figures released by Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ).

According to a note from Bernstein last month, Macau’s GGR is likely to face weakness in March and April, however, the firm maintained its forecast that Q1 will show a quarter-on-quarter improvement, and Q2 may potentially be flat, with an improvement in GGR to start towards the end of Q2 and into Q3. Bernstein says the headwinds facing the sector continue to be VIP and high-end of premium mass related. “However we see numerous catalysts materializing over the next 1-2 years to fuel the growth in mass market, which we believe is the structural driver of Macau market. The key catalysts driving mass market will be infrastructure development, new casinos’ ramp up, and the resilience of the Chinese consumer.”