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Macau Beats Expectations In July, But Still Logs 26th Consecutive Revenue Decline

Macau Beats Expectations In July, But Still Logs 26th Consecutive Revenue Decline - Melco Crown Entertainment Limited NASDAQ:MPEL, Las Vegas Sands Corp. NYSE:LVS

Gaming revenue in the month of July for Macau came in at 17.7 billion patacas.

This figure, according to data released by the Macao Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, is about 4.5 percent lower than July 2015’s number.

The 4.5 percent decline actually beat analysts’ low consensus expectations of a 5.5 percent drop.

Shares of Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd (ADR) MPEL, Las Vegas Sands Corp. LVS, MGM Resorts International MGM and Wynn Resorts, Limited WYNN all opened Monday's session trading down up after a strong month of July.

Still Searching For A Bottom

July marked the 26th consecutive month of year-over-year negative gaming revenue growth in Macau. Comps began getting a bit easier in June, and Macau has now kept the year-over-year declines in the single digits for four consecutive months.

February 2015 marked the "high point" for gaming revenue declines at -48.6 percent. June's GGR of only 15.8 billion patacas represented the monthly low for revenue during the current downturn and was the lowest monthly total Macau has recorded since September 2010.

Investors will be watching to see if June ultimately ends up being the bottom of the current cycle. Last month, UBS said that the firm anticipates Macau will return to positive revenue growth by Q4.

The Bad News Keeps Coming

Macau has seen a seemingly constant stream of bad news over the past two years:

  • In 2014, the Chinese government announced a crackdown on corruption in Macau.
  • Increased government scrutiny coupled with a weakening Chinese economy led to a major falloff in VIP gamblers.
  • In September 2015, headlines of potential junket embezzlement of up to $258 million dollars had investors worried about even more government regulation down the road.
  • Macau’s new ban on phone betting began on May 9.

In addition, fears surrounding the impact of a potential VIP room smoking ban in Macau casinos have also weighed on share prices.

Sluggish Stocks

Shareholders of the four U.S.-listed Macau names are hoping that the worst of the selloff is now behind them. The stocks of the four Macau names are down between 8 and 56 percent in the past two years.

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Disclosure: The author is long MPEL.

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