Visa changes could halt Macau decline

Visa changes could halt Macau decline

Wednesday, July 1, 2015 Totally Gaming
Macau saw a 13th consecutive month without gain

Macau’s dreadful gaming performance entered a second year as it recorded a 13th consecutive month of decline, but transit visa changes could be good news for the Chinese resort.

The special administrative region saw revenue fall 36 per cent from a year earlier to 17.36 bn patacas (€1.96bn/$2.17bn) in June, which means H1 turnover was down 37 per cent on the first half of 2014.

The latest data means that Macau is now back to the same revenues it recorded back in November 2010 – 50 months ago.

However, the Macau government announced overnight a reversal of the transit visa policy that was tightened exactly a year ago after it was used by some high rollers and junket agents to gain multiple entries into the city.

Analysts suggest the visa move will benefit casino operators before the summer holidays and peak seasons later this year, and also predicted that the government will issue more supportive policies in the second half of 2015.

“The change might suggest that current demand has reached a level the government feels a need to act to support it from falling further,” said Anthony Wong, a UBS Securities analyst.

From July 1, mainland China passport holders transiting through Macau are allowed to stay in the city longer and more frequently. They can stay seven days in Macau, up from five days, and gain second entry within 30 days, rather than 60 days.

Melco Crown Entertainment gained 9.7 per cent to $19.63 at the close in New York. Las Vegas Sands, the world’s largest casino company, added 4.9 per cent to $52.57, while Wynn Resorts rose 5.1 per cent to $98.67. MGM Resorts, which is also facing a call to restructure from an activist investor, added 3.8 per cent to $18.25.

While Macau’s revenues continue to fall, the importance of the region is highlighted by the fact that this week the Nevada Gaming Control Board revealed that the US state generated a 3.3 per cent year-on-year rise in May but still collected only around $1bn – just half of Macau’s turnover.

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