MACAU GAMBLING REVENUES REACH RECORD IN DECEMBER
02nd January, 2013 at 00:48:16
December numbers drive 2012's revenues up 13.5 percent, but there are concerns for 2013
Official statistics for Macau gambling revenues in December reached a new record of 28.25 billion patacas ($3.54 billion) - up 19.6% and well ahead of forecasts - driving the annual 2012 revenue count to $38 billion, the Reuters news agency reports.
Strong visit numbers during the holiday season helped boost revenues to new highs in the gambling mecca off the Chinese coast, triggering a perhaps temporary comeback from the trend from much of the year, which saw growth fall sharply due to lower spending by VIP customers, slower economic growth in China, tighter scrutiny of money transfers and moves to combat the country's entrenched corruption.
Annual gambling revenue for 2012 rose 13.5% versus 2011 when revenues rose 42.2 percent.
However, analysts warned that there may be further constraints in the year ahead, pointing to no new supply set to open in Macau for the next two years, a new anti-smoking regulation that comes into effect in 2013 and tighter scrutiny over the VIP junket market.
"Higher spending by China's burgeoning middle class has been a key factor in propelling revenue gains in 2012, offsetting a slowdown in VIP growth. Whether volumes in the high end VIP market will stabilise and accelerate further on the back of stronger economic growth is an issue over which analysts remain cautious," Reuters reports.
Estimates for 2013 gambling revenue growth range from 5-10% with the central government keen to maintain Macau's growth at a similar pace to the country's GDP rate, say industry executives.
Authorities are pushing to diversify the gambling-dependent hub with more leisure offerings in the hope of attracting a wider visitor base, including a wedding incentive scheme the Macau government launched in November that grants 300 patacas per local guest for their activities in Macau.
Analysts remain upbeat for Macau's outlook, citing an improving economy in China and infrastructure developments that will shorten the journey from the mainland to Macau.
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