Online Flavours The Pot, But In The Stats Cook-off Between Citadels Vegas and Macau Someone Ate All The Noodles
Post-Pandemic and post-Liberalisation iGaming flavours the pot, but in the stats war between the twin citadels of straight gambling, Las Vegas and Macau, is a contrasting tale of two cities.
According to widespread media reports and fiscal analysis, the far-eastern gaming entrepôt of Macau, once the hottest market in the betting world, is now mired in misery.
Thanks to existential Covid-19 dread and ongoing draconian lockdown measures by its Mainland Chinese Communist rulers, revenues in the former Portuguese colony have fallen precipitously, by almost 100 per cent, year-on-year, to their lowest level in the decade since records began.
Yet on the storied Las Vegas Strip, the epitome and benchmark of real-world touch-and-feel bling-bling gaming, revenues have surged to record levels – up 36 per cent in the first half of 2022, compared to H1 last year, and even 21 per cent higher than the equivalent period in pre-Pandemic 2019.
Across America, thanks to the legalisation and liberalisation of sports betting in recent years, following a 2018 Supreme Court ruling, and the oft-quoted “lockdown premium”, online gambling has boomed.
In the last quarter alone, for example, sportsbook revenue has grown 63 per cent, year-on-year, and online casino revenue is also up, by a third.
At the home of floor gaming, behemoth MGM Resorts and other heavy-hitters, are feeling the love of punters as they flock back to The Strip for the neon buzz and live action.
On the iGaming front there’s what can only be described as mixed news for MGM’s BetMGM joint venture with the UK’s very own Entain Group.
While BetMGM is competing well overall across online in the US, running alongside market leader DraftKings, its sportsbook stakes are way behind Irish and GB-origin Flutter Entertainment’s FanDuel.
Nevertheless, MGM, through its Resorts International arm, is so flush with cash that it’s girding its loins to inject a mighty US$600 million (£516.32m) into its Macau casinos, as it prepares to double-down on the special, but troubled, China market and bid for a new operating licence.
MGM’s Macau subsidiary is presently worth around ten per cent of the company’s current market capitalization, say the financial gurus. Yet time was–before it was hammered by Covid-19–when Macau represented some 30 per cent of MGM’s value.
Hong Kong-listed MGM China posted a US$306 million loss for H1 this year (£263.32m), following a US$221 million loss in 2021 (£190.17m).
Once it was the world’s richest gambling hub. But how the mighty Macau has fallen.
Not so Sin City and its ever-evolving American online adjunct.
They play the game. They roll the metaphorical dice. They’ve bet heavily on the positive future of iGaming.
And for now they’re eating all the noodles.