Gaming revenue in the world’s largest gambling hub rose 23.7 percent year-over-year in May, according to the latest report from the Macau Gaming and Coordination Bureau. The May revenue number handily beat industry analysts’ expectation of 16.5 percent growth and sent the stocks of Macau casino operators soaring.
Macau has made a major recovery of late after a government corruption crackdown in 2014 resulted in 26 consecutive months of falling revenue. That losing streak came to an end in August 2016, and Macau has now reported 10 consecutive months of positive revenue growth.
All four U.S.-listed Macau casino stocks continued their 2017 momentum and finished the day higher on Thursday following the good news. Melco Resorts & Entertainment (ticker: MPEL) gained 1.2 percent, MGM Resorts International (MGM) gained 2 percent, Wynn Resorts (WYNN) gained 4.5 percent and Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) gained 5.2 percent.
“We believe a strong start to June could lead to the Street’s estimates, and ours, [moving] higher ahead of earnings reporting season in mid-July,” Telsey Advisory Group analyst David Katz wrote Thursday. “Coupled with the 16.3 percent growth in April, we believe it is a fair conclusion that the new properties in the market, including LVS’ Parisian and WYNN’s Palace, are growing the market rather than cannibalizing the existing properties.”
Macau’s May performance could have been even better if not for a visit from National People’s Congress Chairman Zhang Dejiang. Union Gaming analyst Grant Govertsen says gambling activity likely dropped during Zhang’s visit.
“We are very encouraged by the May results, which we had expected to be suppressed by the Zhang visit, as well as the slightly unfavorable calendar,” Govertsen says, adding that the Macau recovery is now “in full tilt.”
Analysts expect another strong revenue number from Macau in June as well. Union Gaming is projecting…
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