Casinos Hit By 'Luck Factor' As The House Doesn't Always Win


Wynn Resorts (WYNN), Las Vegas Sands (LVS) and Melco Crown Entertainment (MLCO) are sliding Tuesday after Macau gaming revenue for the month of December unexpectedly fell short of estimates.

X Gross gaming revenue rose only 14.6% for the last month of 2017 to 22.7 billion patacas ($2.82 billion), according to Macau's Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), short of Bloomberg survey estimates for 20% growth.

High-rollers who walked away from the table with winnings wound up weighing on December casino revenue in the Chinese territory, said the outlet.

"We would attribute December's weakness primarily to the luck factor on VIP, although given the miss relative to consensus we would expect shares of the Macau names to be weak today," wrote Union Gaming analyst Grant Govertsen in a Monday report.

Shares of Wynn were down 2% on the stock market today. Melco Crown sold off 3%, Las Vegas Sands dipped 0.3% but had fallen as much as 1.4% earlier. MGM Resorts International (MGM), which is more U.S.-focused, edged up 0.3%.

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Gamblers nevertheless plunked down enough money to make it a double-digit year for Macau's casinos, with revenue up 19.1% in 2017 to 265.7 billion patacas ($33 billion). Reuters said analysts had expected 18%-20% in gains for the year.

And that marks a big swing of fortune, compared to the last three years of year-over-year gaming revenue declines in the region amid a government crackdown on corruption. The last time Macau's gross gaming revenue ended a year in the black was 2013.

"Looking ahead to early 2018, we expect the combined January/February period to grow in the high teens to low twenties (against a comp of +11% spread across the two-month period)," said Govertsen, adding, "For the whole of 2018 we are currently expecting growth in the mid-teens, driven by VIP at ~20%+ growth and mass at ~10%+."


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