Macau premium mass resilient in ‘normal’ month: Citi

Citigroup’s latest spot-check survey of Macau premium mass gaming tables showed that the quality of players was “holding up” in March, which the institution described as a “normal month” without long holiday breaks.

Overall, Citigroup stated market-wide wager observed for the March survey was HKD10.0 million (US$1.3 million), or 73 percent up on March 2023.

The number of premium mass players seen was 482, a rise of 71 percent year-on-year. This month’s average wager per player was HKD20,817, “marginally higher” than March 2023’s HKD20,539.

“This implies that the quality of players we saw remains largely unchanged year-on-year,” wrote analysts George Choi and Ryan Cheung.

“More importantly,” in their view, the latest survey was “on a normal Friday, not a long weekend or major holiday, and our estimated wager per player holds up well versus surveys conducted in the past several normal [non-holiday] months.”

Citigroup suggested Wynn Macau Ltd – operator of Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace – was market-share leader in its March survey, with 25 percent of observed wager amounts, though the institution was “surprised” by MGM China Holdings Ltd’s estimated 21 percent share, and third place.

“The gaming volumes that we saw at MGM Cotai” in the March survey – circa HKD1.09 million, distributed across 50 players – “were comparable to that of Chinese New Year 2024,” said Mr Choi and Mr Cheung.

“It seems players like the newly renovated high-limit area there,” they added. MGM China also runs MGM Macau in downtown Macau.

The ‘player of the month” seen in the survey, “placed a HKD400,000 bet at the Supreme room at the other MGM casino [MGM Macau] on the peninsula,” stated the analysts.

Citigroup said MGM China had at MGM Macau deployed “two more baccarat tables with insurance bet options,” and the institution had seen a customer playing like a financial-markets “option trader”, via an insurance bet at 10 to 1 payout ratio after the player had made an initial HKD3,000 bet on ‘banker’.

At MGM Cotai, Citigroup said it was “surprised” to have “observed HKD1 million in total premium mass wager… for the second consecutive month,” despite March not being a Chinese-mainland holiday season.

Bill Hornbuckle, chief executive and president of MGM China’s parent, MGM Resorts International, had said during the group’s recent fourth-quarter earnings call, that MGM China “broke through 20 percent” market share barrier in January.

Mr Hornbuckle had further stated: “I’m not suggesting that’s sustainable, but I will tell you, I think we have repositioned those two properties and we’re prepared to compete on an equal basis with anybody in the marketplace.”

In Citigroup’s commentary on operational trends noticed in the market for the March survey, the institution said Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd had made its Qi Long club at City of Dreams “a semi-open area, while designating the Dragon Palace as the only members-only premium mass room at that property”.

The analysts further noted: “Both rooms looked a lot busier compared to our previous visits.”

Lawrence Ho Yau Lung, chairman and chief executive of Melco Resorts, had mentioned on the group’s fourth-quarter earnings call, that the company had made some changes to its gaming business, following a loss of 2023 share in terms of earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation.

Citigroup’s March survey observed that at Sands China Ltd’s Venetian Macao, also on Cotai: “The crowd we saw at the Venetian high-limit area was a little lighter than usual.”

BY: 우리카지노탑

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