Still going down

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The city’s gaming revenue is likely to post a year-on-year decline of some 3 to 9 per cent for June, brokerage Sandford C. Bernstein expects, which suggests the local gaming sector may rake in a maximum of MOP16.8 billion (US$2.1 billion) in revenues. “Our channel checks indicate that Macau’s gross gaming revenue for last week was around MOP2.5 billion, implying an average daily rate (ADR) of some MOP510 million. The ADR is similar to the first week of June 2015 at MOP521 million,” the firm’s analysts Vitaly Umansky, Simon Zhang and Clifford Kurz wrote in a recent report. “Assuming an ADR of MOP530 to 570 million for the remainder of this month, June gross gaming revenue would be MOP15.8 to16.8 billion, representing a year-on-year decline of 3 to 9 per cent [compared to] a 10-per cent year-on-year decline in May,” they note. For June 2015, local casinos generated gross gaming revenues of MOP17.4 billion. Meanwhile, regarding the city’s gaming regulator tightening its anti-money laundering rules for local gaming and junket operators since the middle of May, the brokerage perceives such rules “are not unexpected.” “The new set of rules more than doubles the number of provisions included in the anti-money laundering instructions, though critically did not change the threshold of ‘large’ transactions (MOP500,000) required for casinos to report to government authorities,” its analysts claimed. On the other hand, the investment firm perceives the recent warning issued by China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) regarding bad behaviour to be avoided by Mainland tourists, including gambling abroad, may not necessarily be targeting Macau. “There were no indications whether the warning was targeted against regulated or unregulated gaming”, the analysts wrote, adding “it is more likely that CNTA’s statement is not directed at Macau but towards other Asian gaming jurisdictions such as South Korea and Philippines, some of which have had casino operators in those jurisdictions aggressively market its gaming facilities to citizens in China too”.