Gaming | Australia to see a resurgence in foreign high-rollers

Australian casinos just received a piece of good news from an industry analyst.

As the gambling houses continue to compete for Asian high-roller clients, their efforts are paying off and analysts are now optimistic that a recovery could be only a few short months away, reports Calvin Ayre.

Most of Australia’s casinos have seen a decline in Asian high-roller traffic in recent years, attributed by some to a slowing Chinese economy. Star Entertainment and Crown Resorts have both reported a substantial decline in the high-roller segment, but have also continued to work hard at not losing more ground.

According to analysts with Macquarie Wealth Management, there has been a “U-turn” in the sentiment toward mainland China, which the analysts see “flowing into VIP confidence and driving an uptick in volumes.”

“We now include a VIP recovery in financial year 2020,” the analysts added. “While we remain cautious on [second-half 2019] VIP volumes, with our view that Macau VIP bottoms in the June 2019 quarter, we are optimistic and now forecast a recovery.”

The Star saw its turnover from international VIP gamblers drop 33% in the last six months of 2018, coming in at $20.7 billion (about MOP167 billion). The turnover was greatest at its Sydney-based casino, which saw a 49% decline.

Crown has suffered as well. The largest casino operator in Australia reported just $19.9 billion (about MOP161 billion) from the VIP segment, a reduction of 12.2% year-on-year during the same six-month period.

Despite the drop, The Star’s future still remains bright.

Macquarie said that the company’s three casinos – on the Gold Coast and in Sydney and Brisbane – have an “attractive” future, with the promise of strong domestic growth.

The firm added that “the domestic business still accounts for more than 80 percent of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization and is a higher quality business than VIP having greater earnings visibility and better margins.”
MDT/Calvin Ayre

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