Casino players not deterred amid stiff economic headwinds: Citi

According to Citigroup (Citi), casino players “are not going to be deterred by anything less than a direct-hit typhoon or a ‘black’ warning-level rainstorm.”

This assessment follows Citi analysts’ conclusion from a survey that the average wager per player has surged by 58% compared to 2019 figures, reaching HKD20,314, despite the Chinese economy facing stiff headwinds.

“We believe the strength observed in September 2023 can be largely attributed to the abundance of whales,” said Citi analysts George Choi and Ryan Cheung

‘Whales’ refer to players who wager between HKD100,000 to 500,000 per hand.

Citi also defined a ‘player of the month’ as a bettor at Chairman Club in Wynn Palace who wagers HKD500,000.

Recently, two whales and 15 other players wagered a staggering HKD980,000 in just one baccarat table at the Horizon Premium Club at Galaxy Macau.

In their survey, the analysts found that the average minimum bets across Macau are on the rise, indicating an improvement in player quality within the mass sector.

This month, the average minimum bet increased to HKD2,123, slightly higher than last month’s HKD2,064.

However, the premium mass segment is experiencing a slight decline, due to “seasonality-defying trend.”

Data from the analysts shows that the sector has had a slight decline of 8% in total wagers, amounting to HKD8.8 million, while the number of players decreased from 468 in August to 431.

Late last month, Citi noted that high rollers were increasingly betting  on games of chance in Macau.

A weekly channel check from Citi revealed that it had observed 24 whales last month, marking the highest single count this year amid a weakening economy.  LV

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