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It's been more than four years since Macau surpassed the Las Vegas strip as the largest gambling center in the world. And U.S. companies didn't take very long to see the opportunities abroad, as all the majors -- Las Vegas Sands (NYSE: LVS ) , MGM (NYSE: MGM ) , and Wynn Resorts (Nasdaq: WYNN ) -- have set up shop in the new gambling mecca.
Revenues had been surging and tourists flocking to the new destination, that is, until last month. Revenues in June dropped by 20% from May, as VIP gamblers threw fewer dollars onto the popular baccarat tables. The VIP segment is extraordinarily important, as it represents about 70% of Macau's total sales, so a decline there is not exactly what investors like to see. However, the widespread belief is that the World Cup bonanza was a major distraction for global tourism, and that Macau should bounce back next month.
Market share breakdown
For the big-time gaming companies, Macau has now become one of the most important, if not the most integral, part of their strategies moving forward. Take a look at how the market in Macau shakes out:
- SJM Holdings: 30% market share.
- Las Vegas Sands: 22%.
- Wynn Resorts: 17%.
- Melco Crown Entertainment (Nasdaq: MPEL ) : 13%.
- MGM Resorts: 8%.
Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson recently had this to say with regard to high rollers abroad: "We look at the breakdown of the (applications) for the credit and we find they're coming from the main three areas: Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. And there are lots of very high rollers. Substantially higher ... than we've experienced here in Las Vegas."
Hopefully those high rollers return, because since the disappointing June numbers were revealed, shares have really taken a hit. LVS has gone down 4%, MGM is down 15%, Melco Crown is down 4%, and Wynn has managed to stay relatively flat.
I don't doubt that Macau will bounce back, but softening demand from China, stricter lending, and potential decreases for VIP customers could mean it's a bit later than investors would like.
What do you think July's numbers will bring? Sound off in the comments section below!