It has been a great month for Macau’s casinos, with recent figures revealing casino revenue totalled $3.7 billion in May 2013, a 13.5 per cent increase from May 2012.
The monthly revenue is also the second highest of the year to date, coming second only to casino revenue that was generated in the Chinese administrative region in March. The revenue increase also matched the forecasts of financial analysts, who previously predicted revenues would rise by between 12 and 15 per cent.
The boost in casino revenues coincides with the growth of poker in the enclave. The Macau Poker Cup has become a staple on the Asian poker circuit in recent years, and the last Cup in April was its biggest ever. A total of 891 players took to the felt in this year’s Main Event at the Cup, which was over 200 players more than its previous record of 635 players.
Macau also plays host to the GuangDong Ltd Asia Millions, a prestigious poker event that has a HK$1 million (around US$130,000) buy in. Currently being played, the event is the second largest by prize pool outside of Las Vegas and features poker greats such as Jonathan Duhamel, Gus Hansen, John Juanda and Joseph Cheong. That is a major feat considering the tournament is occurring at the same time as the WSOP in Las Vegas.
The Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) also has a leg in Macau, which features upwards of ten events and commonly features poker players from all over Asia and the world. Last year’s APPT Macau Main Event had a field of 184 players and the top two players received cash prizes of over US$450,000 each.
Macau also benefits from being the only place in China where its citizens can legally engage in real money gaming. The gaming hub is a magnet for high spending Chinese gamers who often spend upwards of $160,000 at a time at Macau’s casinos. The continuously booming Chinese economy is also helping Macau, with the region becoming a fast growing destination for middle-class Chinese tourists who wish to play at its casinos.
The future of gaming and casinos in Macau looks even stronger as numerous infrastructure developments begin to take shape. A bridge joining Hong Kong, Zhuhai and Macau is currently in the works and is set to open by 2016, while upgrades to its ferry terminals and international airport are also being planned.