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Casino authorities in Macau said Monday that gaming revenues grew 48.4 percent in July, hitting the $3 billion mark for just the second time.
Macau said the 24.2 billion patacas produced in July by the region's 34 casinos fell just below May's all-time record of 24.3 billion patacas. The figures in both May and July translated to just above $3 billion.
The results were far above what been expected by most analysts.
"The most surprising part of this performance is that it is occurring at a time when China's macro conditions continue to worsen, with business confidence falling to 2009 lows and monetary conditions extremely tight," Macquarie Securities gaming analyst Gary Pringe, who is based in Hong Kong, told investors.
Macau is the world's largest gaming market, with more than $23.5 billion in 2010. Gaming analysts have predicted gaming revenues could grow more than 30 percent this year.
July's results indicate to some their predictions are on the low end. Year to date, Macau gaming revenues are up 45 percent.
Las Vegas Sands Corp. operates three casinos in Macau, including the The Venetian Macao Resort-Hotel and Sands Macao. The company is expected to open four new hotels on the Cotai Strip region totaling some 6,000 rooms beginning next year.
"As Galaxy's Cotai development continues to ramp up, aided further by the scheduled opening of Las Vegas Sands sites, we expect the added room capacity and new entertainment attractions to draw additional critical mass to the Cotai Strip," Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets gaming analyst Steven Wieczynski wrote in a research note.
Wynn Resorts Ltd. operates the Wynn Macau and Encore resorts and plans a Cotai Strip property; MGM Resorts International owns 51 percent of the MGM Grand Macau.
July's figures grew 16.4 percent over June.
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