Macau’s three dozen casinos won less money from gamblers in 2016 than they did the previous year, but the market has stabilized and should grow modestly in 2017.
According to figures from Macau government officials, the city’s casinos won nearly $2.5 billion from gamblers in December, an eight percent gain year-over-year. The performance brought total gaming win for the year to $27.9 billion, a 3.3 percent decline compared to 2015.
Gaming win fell more than 34 percent in 2015 compared to 2014.
Macau had a record $45.2 billion in gaming revenue in 2013, before the market’s contraction began thanks to increased government oversight on the junket industry that extends credit to high rollers. Another reason is that the Chinese economy has been cooling off.
At the behest of mainland China, Macau is pushing casino operators to focus more on the recreational gambler and invest in more non-gaming amenities. The local government wants the industry to have at least nine percent of its revenue come from non-gaming offerings by 2020, up from 6.6 percent in 2014. The industry has also been asked not to rely as heavily on high-stakes baccarat, which once generated more than 90 percent of gaming revenue.
In August, the casinos ended a streak of 26 consecutive months where gaming win fell year-over-year. Prior to Macau’s sudden and steep downturn, it was predicted in a Wall Street Journal report that in 2017 the casino gambling market would hit $77 billion.