Macau Casinos Extend Winning Streak Despite Absence Of ‘Super Whales’

September marked 14 straight months of gaming revenue increases for Macau, the only place in China with legal casinos.

Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau said this week that the casinos won a combined 1.4 billion patacas ($2.7 billion) from gamblers last month, an increase of 16 percent year-over-year. The performance for the industry further cements a recovery that was badly needed after the gambling hub previously saw 26 straight months of year-over-year declines.

Macau’s gaming market hit a high of $45 billion in 2013, before Beijing decided to crack down on junket operators, the companies that help high rollers get the funds they need to play with.

Macau’s recovery has been fueled by a return of the high rollers, but not the biggest spenders it had during its run up toward becoming the world’s top casino gambling market.

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“We no longer have the super whales like we used to, the ones who would come and lose in the vicinity of 100 to 150 million Hong Kong dollars ($19.2 million), in one weekend,” a former VP of casino marketing in Macau told Bloomberg. “We don’t see them anymore. What we have [now] is a huge, basically, middle segment of the VIP [market] and the long tail toward the bottom end.”

Nosebleed baccarat, at its peak, accounted for 90 percent of Macau gaming win.

At the request of China, Macau has been moving toward catering to the mass market customers as well, in the form of beefing up non-gaming amenities.

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