Gamers in Macau kicked off 2014 by spending a lot of money, but not as much as was expected by economic analysts.
Revenue from gaming in Macau totalled US$3.6 million in January, which heralded a seven percent increase in growth. While seemingly a positive result, the growth was the lowest experienced by Macau’s gaming industry in 14 months.
It was also below estimates given by most analysts, which was between 11-15 percent for the month of January. There was little surprise in the lower-than-expected growth, however, as the Chinese New Year holiday period began at the end of January.
That led to a number of Chinese, who form the largest contingent of visiting gamers in Macau, choosing to stay at home ahead of the important holiday.
It was not all negative for Macau’s gaming sector, however. Poker went from strength to strength in the gaming enclave in the first month of the year, something evidenced by the popularity of last month’s Macau Poker Cup.
A record field of 995 players turned out to the Cup’s main event, known as the Red Dragon, which was won by Mongolian player Buyanjargal Bold. The field was substantially higher than the previous record field of 891 players that was set in January 2013.
While poker is not the largest gaming stream in Macau, it likely made a significant contribution to overall gaming revenue due, in part, to the popularity of the Macau Poker Cup.
It is likely that the next few months will yield greater revenues for gaming in Macau, which will need to happen if it is to see growth in its yearly revenue. That will not be an easy task since total gaming revenue for 2013 was $45 billion and China’s economy is currently experiencing a slowdown.
However, Macau’s ever-growing reputation and popularity as a global gambling centre could help make this year an even stronger one for Macau’s gaming sector.