Looking at the casinos around Asia, there are grounds for optimism given the financial performance in the first half of 2017. Much of the improvement over 2016’s performance seems to be down to better gross win from the VIP segment, either in the form of higher rolling chip volume, a better gross win percentage on that volume, or a combination of the two.

After several years in the doldrums Macau has had a good six months in 2017, with gaming revenues up by 17% in H1 2017. In particular, VIP baccarat gross win was up 16% in Q1 2017 over Q1 2016. It was the best quarterly performance for this segment since Q1 2015.

There has been a mixed picture in Singapore. Genting Singapore saw a decline in gaming revenues between Q1 2017 and Q1 2016. Gaming revenues fell by 4% year-on-year to S$ 434.4 million. But at the Marina Bay Sands, casino revenue was up by 21% to US$ 550 million in Q1 2017. Sands was helped by a much-improved rolling chip win percentage of 2.52% in Q1 2017 (Q1 2016: 1.42%).

Asian casinos work on a theoretical range of between 2.6% and 3.0%, so Sands’ Q1 2016 percentage was much lower than expected.

In Cambodia NagaCorp had a very strong first half and gaming revenues jumped from US$ 277 million in H1 2016 to US$ 387 million in H1 2017, an increase of 40%. An 89% increase in gross win from the VIP segment was behind much of the growth.

The fatal attack at Resorts World Manila, Philippines, and subsequent voluntary suspension of trading in June 2017 will clearly have had an impact on revenues. For the first quarter of the year Travellers International’s gaming revenues were already slightly lower than Q1 2016.

But other properties in Manila performed much better. City of Dreams Manila, for example, saw its rolling chip volume grow by 60% to US$2.4 billion. A particularly high win rate of 3.4% on that volume also helped net revenues reach US$157 million, up 65%.

City of Dreams Manila’s table games win per unit per day grew from US$ 2,959 in Q1 2016 to US$ 5,193 in Q1 2017.

If the trend for the “return of the VIPs” continues, then 2017 could be a strong year for the Asian region’s casinos.