February still slow ahead of Chinese New Year

Macau table-only GGR calculations for the first two weeks of February by Sterne Agee amount to $1.14b, indicating a year-over-year monthly result of -54 percent, or $2.15 billion.

Sterne Agee analyst David Bain said in a note that based off data during the start of the month to February 15, this month’s gross gaming revenue is lower than anticipated.

“While daily GGR should increase significantly during the Chinese New Year holiday beginning February 19 (versus January 31 last year), February GGR to date is lower than anticipated.”

“Last week’s average daily GGR was down ~14% from the previous 8 days. Typically, daily GGR slows into significant holidays though the first 15 days of GGR have been lower than anticipated,” he writes.

Bain cites the smoking ban as contributing to operators’ challenges.

“The ban on smoking on mass casino floors is likely hurting hold/ win-rate comparisons as the new restrictions limit length of play. The negative win-rate impact from smoking restrictions has been seen in Macau companies already reporting 4Q14. Mass gaming floor smoking restrictions took place in October of last year,” he said.

The analyst tips LVS and WYNN to achieve higher than their average market share towards the end of February.

“LVS should benefit from its island-high hotel base during high visitation periods (e.g., Chinese New Year) and overall weighting to mass gaming. WYNN will benefit from a recent casino remodel including 2 new VIP rooms, 40 tables back in service, and one new VIP promoter, Sun City, that was not previously at the facility.”