Slump in Macao; Trump’s latest tantrum

July was unkind to casino operators in Macao, with revenues down 4%. Mass market table win was healthily up, 17%, and slot revenue increased, albeit by 4%. However, VIP revenues were 14% on 13.% less volume of OB-BB375_Macau__20080221142644play. This pulled Las Vegas Sands‘ revenues down 2%, despite an increase in mass table play. An enormous upsurge in slot play at Wynn Macau and a smaller-than-average drop in VIP action saved the month, for which Wynn was up 6%. Hardest hit of the U.S. operators was MGM Grand Paradise, down 11% overall on declines in almost every category. Mass-market table win was up 40% but it still wasn’t enough to turn the tide.

Sociedade de Jogos de Macau led the market both in VIP and total market share, narrowly fending off Galaxy Entertainment in the former category. Sands dominated mass market play (its bread and butter category) with 29%. “MGM and WYNN are growing mass market revenue (much) faster than the market, while LVS is (surprisingly) lagging this segment’s growth (second month in a row for LVS),” wrote J.P. Morgan analyst Joseph Greff, noting that the growth rates were 40%, 36% and 15%, respectively. Modest overall growth is forecast for next month.

Trump face* Gall, thy name is Donald Trump. For years he has been content to hold a 10% stake in Trump Entertainment Resorts, and to lease his and Ivanka Trump‘s names and images for promotional purposes. All the while, TER revenues went down, down, down. Now that the waste byproduct has hit the fan and Trump Plaza may be ignominiously closed, Trump wants out. Of course, as always, none of this is his fault.

For years S&G has argued that the Trump brand is poison, overripe for disposal. Now Trump, in effect, agrees. “I want it off both of them. I’ve been away from Atlantic City for many years,” Trump bloviated. “People think we operate [the company], and we don’t. It’s not us. It’s not me.”

donald-trump-scowldonald-trump-scowlTrump medium“The Trump name … has become synonymous with the highest levels of quality, luxury, prestige and success,” reads his lawsuit. “Since Mr. Trump left Atlantic City many years ago, the license entities have allowed the casino properties to fall into an utter state of disrepair and have otherwise failed to operate and manage the casino properties in accordance with the high standards of quality and luxury required under the license agreement.” Strangely, this was not an issue for Trump while it was happening, even when Trump Plaza failed an independent quality review test … in 2012.

Trump can’t be that upset. For now, he’s piggishly hanging onto his minority stake in the company that is supposedly so unworthy of him.

* Whoever thought that a diminution in the amount of visitors’ budgets spent on gambling in Las Vegas would be the city’s salvation? Atlantic City wishes it were so lucky.

* Congratulations and thanks to MGM Resorts International for not just meeting but exceeding its recycling goal in 2013. The company aimed for a 50% diversion rate but hit 53%. That means 130,000 pounds of material recycled rather than dumped into landfills.

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