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Macau premium mass resilient, Sands regains pole position: Citigroup


According to a recent memo from Citigroup, business trends in the Macau gaming sector appear to be resilient in April, especially leading up to the Labor Day break. Additionally, Sands China was observed to regain the number one spot in market share in the premium mass segment.

The upcoming major holiday on the Chinese mainland, which serves as Macau’s primary tourism feeder market, is the Labor Day break. It will span from May 1st (Wednesday) to May 5th (Sunday).

Analysts from Citigroup note that April’s premium mass table survey shows a 5 percent year-over-year decline in premium mass wager per player, but the base was high since the April survey last year was conducted on the Friday before Labor Day holidays in 2023 (Apr 29th to May 3rd). 

More importantly, ‘this 5 percent decline is more than offset by the 60 percent year-over-year increase in player count. These numbers translate into a 53 percent year-over-year increase in total wager observed.’

‘We won’t be surprised if Macau’s GGR is going to be generated by fewer premium mass players this month, given the timing of the Labor Day holidays this year,’ it noted.

‘The Labor Day holidays are just around the corner, and some players will probably save their Macau visas until then. We think this April 2024 data point continues to reflect the resiliency in mainland Chinese luxury spending behavior,’ it added.

During the survey, the research team observed a total of 18 whales, which according to the definition, are players who bet sizes of HK$100k ($12,773) or more. “We spotted whales at five of the six casino operators (except SJM) during our survey. 

‘The Player of the month showed up at the high-limit area of MGM Cotai, wagering HK$700k ($89,410).’ One player was also spotted at Sands’ Plaza, betting HK$440k ($56,200), and two players at Galaxy Macau’s Horizon room, betting HK$400k ($51,090) and HK$290k ($37,040), respectively.

Citigroup has previously forecasted that Macau’s April GGR could reach MOP18.5 billion ($2.29 billion), up 26 percent year-over-year but down 5 percent from March.

Macau, Londoner, Sands Cotai Central, Sands China, Venetian

Sands takes 25 percent of market share in premium mass

Sands China ranks number 1 in the premium mass survey with a 25 percent market share in total wager observed, which the market share observed last month was about 17 percent.

‘The Apex room at Plaza tops our premium mass table survey for the third consecutive month, with an average wager per player of HK$97,182 ($12,413) this month.’

The survey also finds that Melco has a 14 percent market share in total wager observed, versus 11 percent observed last month.

‘There are some notable improvements at City of Dreams since Melco did some premium mass product realignments last month. The five whales we ran into at CoD drove it back to the top tier in terms of wager per player in the same survey.’

On the other side of the spectrum, Wynn has a 15 percent market share in terms of total wager observed. Based on observations, Citigroup notes that gaming volumes at Wynn Palace ‘looked fine,’ but Wynn’s casino on the peninsula seemed a bit quieter than usual.

The research team also finds that nearly 200 smart gaming tables at the mass concourse of the Londoner casino at the Londoner Macao, a notable increase from the 140 observed last count. Meanwhile, none of the smart gaming tables were seen at its Apex rooms and the Pacifica casino, nor at any other Sands’ casinos.

Viviana Chan
Viviana Chan
Viviana Chan is an editor, interpreter, and journalist. With over a decade of experience, she writes in English, Chinese, and Portuguese. Viviana started her career in Macau-based newspapers, where she became passionate about the region's social, financial, and cultural development. Her writing focuses on the economy, emerging industries, gaming development, political affairs, and cross cultural-exchange in the business and cultural domains. She is avid for news and eager to discover and cover stories that generate public relevance.