Flat tourist growth not bad for gaming: Union Gaming Analyst
A total of 28.1 million tourists visited Macau in 2012, according to official data released yesterday by the Statistics and Census Service.
The figure was up by a mere 0.3 percent year-on-year.
The overall lacklustre performance hides the fact that 2012 was actually a good year in terms of visitation for the casino industry, Union Gaming Research said in a note.
“We believe the flat headline visitation growth figure notably understates what we believe was a double-digit increase in foot traffic across most casino floors,” analysts Grant Govertsen and Felicity Chiang wrote.
“While total visitation from the mainland was up 4.6 percent [to 16.9 million] during 2012, the key segments of these visitors that contribute to casino foot traffic, namely individual visa scheme visitors and package tours, saw visitation increase 8.2 percent and 21.2 percent, respectively.”
The two analysts added that mass-market table revenues also suggest that casino visitation growth was positive in 2012.
... if flat visitation yields decent gaming revenue growth... that increased visitation this year will yield exceptional revenue growth.
Much of this is about LOS (Length of Stay) increases. Individual scheme visitors and package tours have a higher propensity to stay longer whereas the Hong Kong gamblers of last decade who were more typically "day trippers" make up progressively less of the total visitation.
The nice thing about all this for Sands is the old "play where you stay" rule of thumb. Not only is this relevant to the large number of new hotel rooms Sands is opening on the strip, but it's also relevant to Venetian's convention and MICE activity because many of the attendees of those events had to stay downtown due to lack of rooms so they would gamble closer to where they were staying.
Now that there are 14,000 hotel rooms at all of the resorts that are adjacent to Venetian (all cotai resorts are "adjacent" to Venetian), Venetian should see a substantial number of people who come for MICE events hanging around and gambling for the rest of the day if they're staying close by.