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To make up for ongoing declines in VIP baccarat, Macau casinos continue to depend on their mass market gamblers.

Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) released figures on Thursday which show overall casino gaming revenue of MOP72.3b (US$9b) in the last three months of 2019, with the VIP gambling segment responsible for MOP32.3b (a 44.8% share), a 23.1% drop from the same period last year but a slight improvement over Q3’s MOP31.1b.

By comparison, mass market gaming improved 8.3% to MOP39.84b, a 55.2% share of the total sum. Mass market baccarat increased 10.1% year-on-year to MOP30.7b, a modest improvement over Q3’s MOP30.5b. Slots revenue dropped 1% year-on-year to MOP3.87b, representing a 5.6% share of the total pie, almost flat from Q4 2018.

As reported by calvinayre.com, Macau ended 2019 with 6,739 live gaming tables operating, 151 more than at the end of 2018. At the end of last year, there were 17,009 slot machines, almost 1k more than were in action on December 31, 2018.

After two years of positive momentum, Macau’s casinos reported annual gaming revenue dropping 3.4% in 2019, the first year of negative growth. Although the market had been largely negative most of the year, December’s monthly gaming revenue total decreased 13.7%, the biggest monthly drop of the year, owing to temporary visa restrictions imposed prior to China’s President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Macau.

DOUBTFUL TRANSACTION REPORTS DECREASE

The number of doubtful transaction reports (STR) filed in Macau are also on the decline. This week Macau’s Financial Intelligence Office announced that there were 2,941 STRs filed in 2019, decrease 20.8% year-on-year. A good part of this decline was because of financial institutions and insurance companies filing 21.5% less STRs, while other entities fell almost 71%.

Though the gaming sector continued to file the most (1,913) of Macau’s STRs, this number represented an 8.3% year-on-year fall. Regrettably, the other segment’s much higher drops means gaming’s share of Macau’s overall STRs rose about nine points to 65%.

The Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering singled out Macau in October, for its achievement in “addressing technical compliance deficiencies” in its anti-money laundering attempts.

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