By 2011, Macau casino owners became so enthralled by the speed in which the gambling mecca was growing, that they agreed, along with the government, to stop any future growth of the industry. The government was concerned that Macau was becoming too reliant on gambling revenue.
Fast-forward two years later and the growth of new casinos has slowed, but the revenue continues to soar to new heights. In July, revenue at Macau casinos jumped 20% from the same period in 2012, and showed once again that Macau is the undisputed leader when it comes to casino gaming.
The $3.7 billion won by Macau casinos in July represented only the third best month this year. Through seven months, already Macau casinos have seen revenue jump compared to 2012. This comes at a time when the growth, according to most analysts, was expected to slow.
“What is happening in Macau is stunning,” said Mark Grant, a gaming analyst who last year predicted that Macau would see a two to five percent decrease in revenue in 2013. “To continue to break revenue records, even with the expansion of gambling in other Asian markets, is incredible.”
Just how far Macau has come can be seen in a comparison with the former top gaming destination in the world, Nevada. In a given year, Nevada casinos bring in around $10 billion a year. Macau casinos won $3.54 billion in June. Atlantic City, the former number two gaming destination in the world, brought in less than Macau’s June revenue figure in all of 2012.
The focus of the gaming industry has shifted over the past decade to Asian territories. Asian gamblers were routinely found in Las Vegas casinos in the eighties and nineties. When Las Vegas casino owners such as Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands brought their brands to Macau, Asian gamblers skipped the long trips across the world in favor of the new luxury casinos in their backyard.
For a brief period in 2010, the Chinese government tightened visa restrictions on residents from the mainland visiting Macau. Those restrictions, however, were temporary, and by late 2011, Macau was again the center of the casino gambling universe, setting revenue records month after month.