Macau casinos can’t blame Australia, South Korea or the Philippines for decline

Macau casinos might want to blame other regional gaming jurisdictions for the downturn in VIP gambling activity, but a new report says this claim is overblown.

Morgan Stanley analysts issued a report this week examining the causes of Macau’s VIP decline. February’s VIP gaming revenue was off 50% year-on-year and analysts are expecting a similarly epic swoon when March numbers are released next week.

Beijing’s corruption crackdown is the prime culprit in Macau’s VIP decline, but competition from casinos in Australia, South Korea and the Philippines is routinely cited as a chief contributing factor. Leading junket operators like Suncity and David Group have made no secret of their plans to expand their presence in these markets, which are ramping up as Macau winds down.

Morgan Stanley acknowledges that these other jurisdictions have benefited from Beijing’s crackdown, but not to the degree many suspect. True, Australia’s VIP market rose 80% in the second half of 2014, while South Korea gained between 20% and 30% over the same period.

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