March GGR grows 18.1 percent, driven by VIP

Macau gross gaming revenue in March grew 18.1 percent to MOP 21.2 billion (US$2.7 billion), according to the latest figures from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.

The results were higher than market expectations, with analysts expecting growth between 12-16 percent.

Accumulated gross revenue for the first three months of 2017 amounted to MOP$63.5 billion, up 13 percent year-on-year compared to the first three months of 2016.

“While a detailed breakdown of GGR for 17Q1 won’t be available for another two weeks we estimate that VIP GGR likely grew at a rate of 22 percent to 25 percent during March and mass continues to grow in the low double digits or low teens,” said Union Gaming in a note on Saturday.

"Our channel checks indicate stronger than expected VIP volumes and VIP hold (especially in the latter part of the month) to have been well over theoretical range and drove outsized VIP GGR performance," noted Bernstein in a report on Monday. "VIP GGR during the month was much stronger than we had expected. However, longer run we remain skeptical of a long sustained double digit growth environment for VIP. We see VIP slowing down in 2H (and perhaps turning negative in Q4)," it added.

While Macau’s growth over the last few months has been referred to as a “mass-led recovery”, the last two months have shown a surge in VIP, and this is outgrowing mass on a year-on-year basis, said the brokerage.

“In this context we’re inclined to describe the current trends as a “mass anchored” recovery as we still have a lot more confidence in the stability and visibility of mass over the near, medium, and longer terms,” it said.

Union Gaming says it is forecasting GGR growth of 13-15 percent for the month of April.

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