Visitor arrivals increase
In May 2017, visitor arrivals rose 3.7% YoY (year-over-year) to 2.6 million visitors. However, month-over-month, visitor arrivals fell 6.3%. Visitor arrivals have been improving since September 2016, except in February 2017, when they fell 5.6% to 2.5 million visitors. In the first five months of the year, visitor arrivals in Macao rose 6.3% YoY to 13.2 million visitors.
As Macao is the only region in China where gambling is legal, it has developed into the world’s largest gambling market over the past two decades. The area has even surpassed Las Vegas in terms of revenue and visitors. The key driver behind this rapid growth has been investments from the biggest players in the gaming industry, including Las Vegas Sands (LVS), Wynn Resorts (WYNN), Melco Resorts & Entertainment (MLCO), and MGM Resorts (MGM).
The second reason for this growth has been its increasing popularity as a tourist destination for China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. In May 2017, China alone contributed 1.7 million visitors, a growth of 4.4% YoY. Hong Kong contributed 494,400 visitors, a 1.3% YoY decline. Taiwan contributed 89,118 visitors, a growth of 9.5% YoY, and South Korea contributed 72,205 visitors, a growth of 50.1% YoY.
The United States contributed 15,461 visitors, Australia contributed 6,783, Canada contributed 6,653, and the United Kingdom contributed 5,011. US and Australian visitors increased, while UK and Canadian visitors decreased. Investors can gain exposure to casino stocks by investing in the PowerShares Dynamic Leisure and Entertainment Portfolio ETF (PEJ), which invests 8.3% of its portfolio in casinos.