September’s revenue for Macau casino operators was the lowest it’s been in the last 12 months.
According to data released by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, casino operators won $2.7 billion from gamblers in September. It is a slight increase, up 0.6 percent year-over-year, but didn’t outperform any other month since then.
Even the slight year-over-year rise comes with an asterisk.
In September 2018, Macau experienced a typhoon that caused the gaming operators to shut down for 33 hours. Based on revenue numbers posted from September 2019, the casinos won $3.75 million per hour. If the operators won at the same rate a year ago, the typhoon cost those companies a minimum of $123.75 million, which roughly accounts for the slight increase.
The slight year-over-year bump comes after two months of consecutive drops. 2019 has been a shaky year for the Macau gaming market and the market won’t be on solid ground as long as the status quo, politically speaking, is maintained.
The continuation and escalation of the Hong Kong protests continue to hurt the city’s gambling operations. According to Bloomberg, analysts had previously pointed to the second half of 2019 for a rebound in the market, but have since pulled back on those predictions as tensions continue to rise in Hong Kong. The trade war between the U.S. and China also looms over the market.
Forbes reported last month that any slowdown in the Macau gaming market is likely to be short-lived.
“We believe that while several factors have hurt Macau’s gaming market over recent quarters, the impact is largely temporary in nature and does not take away from the long-term growth potential of the gaming industry in the region,” reported Forbes.
The media outlet also pointed to a decline in VIP gamblers due to stricter regulations by Macau’s regulatory body. But the number of tourists has increased over the last several years, including major increases from mainland China.
Before the escalation of the protests in July, the number of visitors in the region increased by 21 percent in the first quarter of 2019 and 19 percent in the second.