In this week’s installment of Inside Gaming, we look at Maryland’s record-breaking month of April in terms of gaming revenue, construction finally getting underway on a new Vegas property, and another Macau revenue decline (albeit not as great as predicted).
First $100M-Plus Month Ever for Maryland Casinos
Yesterday Maryland’s Lottery and Gaming Control Agency shared news of increasing gaming revenue, with the five casinos in the state reporting a record-breaking $103.8 million in collective revenue in April, beating the previous record of $98.9 million (July 2015) reports The Baltimore Sun.
That marks five straight positive months for Maryland gaming revenue, a trend that Gaming USA Corp president Alan Woinski notes extends beyond just Maryland.
“It’s a healthy market,” Woinski told The Baltimore Sun. “The economy is better, there is job growth and there are lower gas prices. Many people will jump in the car and go places.” He added that “regional gaming revenue has been up for six months across the country, and Ohio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania have been three of the strongest markets.”
Maryland Live, the largest casino in the state, was responsible for more than 55% of the total gaming revenue, reporting $57.7 million last month or a 13.4% increase year-over-year. Meanwhile Horseshoe Casino Baltimore was up 31.9%, earning $30.2 million for the month.
The smaller casinos also enjoyed increases in April, with the Hollywood Casino Perryville up 2% (to $7 million), the Rocky Gap Casino Resort up 6.1% (to $4.1 million), and the Casino at Ocean Downs up 8.9% (to $4.6 million).
A sixth casino built by MGM in Prince George’s County is scheduled to open later this year.
For more on Maryland’s big month, travel to The Baltimore Sun.
Resorts World Las Vegas Construction to Begin Late 2016
A full year after a ceremonial groundbreaking, the announcement was made this week that actual construction will at last begin on the new Resorts World Las Vegas during the last quarter of 2016, with initial preparations to begin as early as this summer.
Gerald Gardner, General Counsel for Resorts World Las Vegas — owned by the Genting Group — spoke with the Nevada Gaming Control Board in order to receive approval for various applications associated with the property. The 87-acre site was purchased by Genting from Boyd Gaming in 2013. Six years previously, the Stardust and Westward Ho were demolished at the location on the north end of the Strip.
Gardner alluded to the delay in getting started with construction when speaking to the NGCB, attributing it “to ongoing work on a ‘complex design,’” reports VEGASINC. Gardner additionally noted that “struggles in the Chinese economy and with Malaysian currency had also affected the timeline.”
Previously announced plans for the Chinese-themed casino resort have indicated four towers and more than 6,500 rooms, although VEGASINC notes current plans call for “more than 3,000 rooms, a 150,000-square-foot casino and other amenities.” Among those other amenities earlier announced are an indoor waterpark, a 4,000-seat theater, an ice skating rink, and aquarium, and a panda exhibit. Cost of construction has been estimated at $7 billion. (An artist’s rendering appears above.)
Genting Chairman K.T. Lim also spoke to the Board, explaining his “goal for Resorts World was to complement the Strip’s existing resorts while creating a ‘new and unique’ destination.”
Construction will create 5,000 jobs while the property itself is expected to have 2,500 full-time employees. Officials estimate a target date of early 2019 for opening.
For more on the planning and schedule for Resorts World, visit VEGASINC.
Macau Gaming Nears Two Straight Years of Monthly Revenue Declines
The latest report from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau of Macau once again reports a year-over-year decline in gaming revenue for the past month, making it 23 straight times the numbers have been down for the Special Administrative Region.
Relatively speaking, the decline wasn’t as steep as it has been during many of those months, and was less than some industry observers had predicted, dropping about 9.5% to 17.34 billion patacas (or about $2.2 billion USD). April 2015 had seen Macau earn 19.16 billion pacatas (about $2.97 billion USD).
Bloomberg Business compares that 9.5% figure “with a median estimate of a 13.5% drop by seven analysts in a Bloomberg survey and a 16.3 percent decrease in March.”
A shift in focus away toward other non-gaming forms of revenue by several Macau operators is perhaps beginning to show some effects. “It still looks to us that the business is stabilizing,” opined Bloomberg analyst Tim Craighead, adding that “the next big catalysts to watch for are the summer travel season and the new resorts from Wynn Macau and Sands China.”
The Wynn Palace on the Cotai Strip is currently scheduled to open this summer, while Las Vegas Sands intends to open The Parisian there later in 2016. Both properties are expected to offer a greater variety of options to tourists interested in non-gaming attractions, and not cater primarily to the high rollers whose dwindling numbers have so greatly impacted Macau gaming revenue as a whole.
Bloomberg shares the perspective of Daiwa analyst Jamie Soo who maintains that even though “the mass market has seen some recovery signs, Macau casino operators are still exposed to the debt-ridden gaming promoters, who led to high-stakes gamblers, as the local government continues to tighten regulation on the industry.”
For more on the present and near future of Macau gaming, ferry over to Bloomberg.
Image: Genting Group