Macau Continues to Boom in 2012

Macau Continues to Boom in 2012

18 Feb 2012 | 15:32 Author: Seth Shafer

Macau picked up in January 2012 where it left off in 2011, with its casinos turning in a very strong performance and a record flow of Chinese gamblers trying their luck during the Lunar New Year holiday.

Macau picked up in January 2012 where it left off in 2011, with its casinos turning in a very strong performance and a record flow of Chinese gamblers trying their luck during the Lunar New Year holiday.

Gambling revenues for January came in at the high end of analysts expectations at $3.13 billion, which was up about 35% compared to the previous year. Demand remains strong in Macau for gambling despite a worldwide recession and uncertain economic times throughout many countries.

While 2012 is off to a hot start, many doubt that Macau can match the winning streak it saw in 2011 with overall revenue growth of 42% in 2011, with a more sedate growth of 10-20% predicted for 2012.

High roller players have been responsible for the bulk of gambling revenues in Macau so far -- with many coming from China as guests of gambling junket operators that cater to high stakes baccarat players -- but some analysts see more traditional mass market tourism coming to the forefront in Macau in 2012 as the market begins to mature and become more widely known.

Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts both reported strong earnings from their Macau operations, helping to offset sluggish results back in the US in Las Vegas and other US states still struggling from the recession and high unemployment.

Macau was the first area in Asia to offer huge casinos and hotels similar to the model Las Vegas pioneered, tapping into the huge demand in China for a more convenient way to escape for gambling and entertainment.

Singapore is following in Macau's footsteps, with its two casinos turning in big profits and revenue growth; Macau passed Las Vegas years ago as far as gambling revenue taken in, with Singapore poised to pull off the same feat in 2012.

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