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Gaming sector adapts to new normal doing more with less

Last year, players in the gaming industry became more efficient in coping with declining revenues, a gaming sector survey for 2014 reveals

In 2014, the receipts of the gaming sector decreased for the first time since 2004, recording a drop of 2.5 per cent. However, and according to the Gaming Sector Survey published by the Statistics and Census Service (DSEC) on Friday, the companies operating in the sector have been quick to adapt. In the same period, the Gross Surplus-Expenditure Ratio, which measures the cost effectiveness of the sector, was up 3 percentage points year-on-year to 140 per cent.
The same trend for the companies operating in the sector to optimise their costs was also reflected by the Gross Surplus Ratio, which indicates the effectiveness of the sector in converting receipts into gross surplus. During the past year, while gross surplus decreased 1.6 per cent year-on-year to MOP206.28 billion (US$25.84 billion) from MOP209.69 billion, the Gross Surplus Ratio rose 0.5 percentage points to 58.3 per cent.
During 2014, total casino receipts dipped 2.5 per cent to MOP354.06 billion from MOP363.07 billion, primarily driven by the decrease from receipts from Gaming and Related Services. In this domain, receipts from gaming decreased 2.6 per cent to MOP352.36 billion from MOP361.61 billion whilst all the other services related to the sector grew.
Receipts from Food and Beverage (F&B) went up 8.8 per cent year-on-year to MOP613 million, from MOP564 million, currency exchange went up 4.6 per cent to MOP100 million, from MOP96 million and others increased 16.9 per cent to MOP556 million from MOP475 million.
Regarding total expenditure, the sector recorded a decline of 3.7 per cent year-on-year to MOP150.90 billion from MOP156.65 billion. This drop also reflects the decline in terms of commissions paid to junket operators. According to the survey, the purchase of goods, commission paid and customer rebate went down 10.3 per cent year-on-year to MOP103.84 billion from 115.74 billion.
Increasing costs with staff
Last year, the number of full-time employees increased 3.5 per cent year-on-year to 57,757 from 55,779, which is related to the opening by the operators of new projects in Cotai. At the same time, efforts to retain staff led to an increase in compensation paid.
Total compensation increased 17.3 per cent year-on-year to MOP18.97 billion from MOP16.18 billion. In respect to this, remuneration in cash increased 17.7 per cent to MOP17.43 billion from MOP14.81 billion.
Meanwhile, payments-in-kind went up 7.1 per cent to MOP747 million from MOP698 million and other benefits climbed 8.6 per cent to MOP34 million from MOP31 million.
Contributions to pension funds, provident funds and social security are to increase at a faster pace, by growing 19.5 per cent year-on-year to MOP761 billion from MOP637 billion.
In spite of the increase in staff costs, in 2014 the average value added per full-time employee decreased 3.7 per cent to MOP3.9 million from MOP4.05 million in 2013.