NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire -08/14/12)- After a strong start to the year, casino stocks have begun to falter as Macau's gambling revenue growth has slowed. The Market Vectors Gaming ETF (BJK) -- which replicates an index consisting of publicly traded companies engaged in the global gaming industry -- has fallen roughly 10 percent in the last three months. Five Star Equities examines the outlook for companies in the Resorts & Casinos Industry and provides equity research on Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) and MGM Resorts International (MGM).
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Macau's gambling revenue in July saw its slowest growth in over three years. The Chinese gaming region's July revenues totaled $3.08 billion dollars, a 1.5 percent year-over-year increase. July's growth was the slowest since June 2009, during the financial crisis. China's gambling mecca has seen a decrease in demand as their "VIP" gamblers from mainland China have been feeling the effects of a slowing Chinese economy.
Grant Govertsen, analysts at Macau based Union Gaming, expects gaming revenues to see low-single-digit growth in August before bouncing back to double digits in September. "All in, we are expecting third-quarter gross gaming revenue growth in the mid-single-digits. Looking further out, we expect full-year 2012 GGR growth to reach the teens," said Grant Govertsen.
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According to a recent Wall Street Journal article Sands China Ltd. is currently being probed by the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission for possible bribery violations. The investigation follows allegations made by Steve Jacobs, the former head of Macau operations, in a wrongful-termination lawsuit.
Despite reports of a slowdown in Macau's gaming market MGM Resorts International's chief executive Jim Murren remain bullish on their Macau prospects. Murren told Reuters that he expects their $2.5 billion casino in the Cotai district to soon be approved by the Macau government. "I would expect we will be in the ground starting this year and keeping to our timetable to open this resort in late 2015," he said.
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