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Chinese New Year: The Planet’s Largest Single Migration Event

Chinese citizens from all over are traveling home to celebrate the new year, and Macau casinos and hotels are reaping rewards.

As the Chinese New Year gets closer, China’s travel rush is beginning. The event is locally known and Chunyun, the travel period, is the largest migration time on the planet. To put that in perspective, China’s National Development and Reform Commission reported that 3 billion trips are expected to be made this year: by train, plane, boat, and land. With the magnitude of traveling it’s only expected that there will be a lot of money to be made.

As Bloomberg reported, “casino operators are wagering that high-roller and recreational gamblers alike will be spending money in Macau (area on China’s south coast) as hotel rooms fill up for the Chinese New Year. Wynn Resorts, Limited (NASDAQ: WYNN) saw four million more than average shares trade today totaling just about 6.5 million. The company closed yesterday January 26 at $95.44, and are up 8% January 27 trading at $103.16.

China is the world’s largest gambling center, and this New Year is helping that market dig itself out of a two year slump. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s started cracking down on corruption which greatly attributed to the slump. But VIP gamblers are returning and there has been a 10% rise in Macau’s gambling last quarter totaling $7.6 billion US dollars. The Chinese New Year is set to pile on to this exceptional increase for casinos. All of this is happening in the midst of their attempt to reinvent their casinos by offering more family-friendly (and government compliant) resorts and attractions to draw recreational spenders and casual gamblers.

Macau-based Union Gaming Group analyst Grant Goversten said, “We’re looking for strong hotel bookings with rooms filled with more high-value customers than we’ve seen in recent history, which should lead to very strong Chinese New Year gross gaming revenue…casino operators are bullish about their VIP and premium mass market businesses for the upcoming holiday period.” Demand for hotels are so high that rates are up 20% at the Venetian, Sands Macao, and Sheraton. Wynn Macau, Banyan Tree, StarWorld and the Ritz-Carlton had at least 80 percent of their standard hotel rooms booked over the Jan. 27 to Feb. 6.

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