Overall Macau casino satisfaction fell 10.3 percent in the gaming enclave last year. That’s according to the area’s Statistics and Census Service, which released its annual report late last week.

Macau casino satisfaction tourism

Macau casinos failed more patrons in 2017 than the year before, as many guests left unhappy. (Image: David Paul Morris/Getty Images)

The index revealed that fewer visitors were fully satisfied with their gaming experience inside the enclave’s casino resorts. The data showed 73.9 percent of Macau guests said they were adequately satisfied, down from the 84.2 percent rate achieved in 2016.

The Statistics and Census Service did not provide explanation for what might have driven the casino satisfaction level down.

As for resort services and facilities, 85.9 percent said their expectations were met. That’s also down, as 90.1 percent of guests said they were pleased with such amenities in 2016.

More Visitors, Less Satisfaction

In addition to the satisfaction reports, Macau’s Statistics and Census Service also reported that total visitor spending totaled $7.6 billion in 2017, a 16.4 percent increase. Total spending does not include gambling expenses, which totaled $33.2 billion.

Following three years of gross gaming win declines due to China’s crackdown on VIP junket operations, the Macau economy is once again flourishing. Casinos posted a 19 percent revenue gain on their floors in 2017, as they successfully catered to more of the mass market over the high roller.

Non-gaming attractions have enticed new visitors. Total visitor arrivals totaled 32.6 million, up 5.4 percent. And nearly all, 29.4 million, came from Mainland China, Hong Kong, or Taiwan. The $17.5 billion bride that will connect Hong Kong to Macau will make traveling to the gambling zone easier for the mass market.

Macau International Airport tallied 7.2 million arrivals and departures, the most ever in the hub’s 22-year operating history. The airport was designed to only handle a maximum of six million passengers per year.

But while more people are visiting, the Macau tourism satisfaction rate declines. The Statistics and Census Service said fewer guests complimented their respective casino resort, and that could lead to slower growth in the year ahead.

After 2017’s 5.4 percent visitor growth, the Macau Government Tourism Office is calling for one to three percent growth in 2018.

Despite the visitor forecast, Fitch Ratings recently upgraded its 2018 gross gaming revenue (GGR) projections from 11 percent to 13 percent. Should that be achieved, Macau casinos are looking at a haul of about $37.5 billion.

Expansion Continues

At the end of 2017, Macau was home to 116 hotels with 37,901 hotel rooms. That still pales in comparison to Las Vegas, which is home to nearly 149,000 rooms. But Macau continues to see its tourism footprint expand.

The $3.45 billion MGM Cotai recently opened, adding another 1,390 rooms to the enclave’s inventory. City of Dreams is set to add 780 rooms when its Morpheus Tower opens later this year.

And The 13 is finally nearing its opening, though the $1.6 billion VIP-focused property will only have 200 suites.