Despite facing several headwinds the gambling boom in Macau shows no signs of slowing, with business booming in March and a record for gambling revenues within reach for the former Portugese colony that is now by far the world's top gambling destination by revenue.
Early results for the first half of March showed revenues up 40% over the prior year, which would put March on pace to break the all-time record $3.35 billion that was wagered in Macau in October 2011.
As far as market share, casinos operated by Stanley Ho's SJM Holdings held about 28% of the Macau market, with Las Vegas Sands and Galaxy Macau both at 18%, and Wynn Macau (13%), Melco Crown (12%), and MGM China (11%) rounding out the rest of the pack.
Macau has become an increasingly important source of revenues and profits for Las Vegas Sands, Wynn, and MGM, with results there now dwarfing the revenue taking in by their operations in Las Vegas (which traditionally was the primary focus for the Las Vegas-based gambling giants).
Gambling revenues continue to grow in Macau despite the efforts of China to clamp down on junket operators that extend credit to high roller gamblers in Macau -- primarily baccarat players -- as well as a very public spat between Steve Wynn and former business partner Kazuo Okada centering on the possibility of bribes being paid to establish their operations in Macau.
Macau's success story is being emulated in other markets in Asia as well, with Singapore poised to also pass Las Vegas based on total gambling revenues per year -- and with just two casinos currently operating in Singapore as opposed to the dozens that call Las Vegas home.
Macau's record growth likely won't continue as some of the gambling appetite in Asia is sated but all signs point to the region solidly remaining the world's top gambling destination based on revenue for decades to come, with its proximity to China guaranteeing a torrent of gambling dollars to continue to stream into Macau.