GalaxyMacau_Gaming-hall_06-790x525What’s a little H7N9 virus, or a loss of mainland China gambling junkets, when you’re Macau, the most lucrative gambling region in the world? Even dings like that, which might affect less stellar revenue-creators than the Special Administrative District that draws some of the world’s biggest whales to its casinos, have not dimmed Macau’s first quarter earnings reports, and amidst all the luscious profits, the classic casino game known as baccarat remains the kingpin that is at the front of the profit line.

First Quarter Earnings Robust

The proof is in the profits, and gross revenue figures of $10.66 billion for only January – March of this year would make anyone’s smile perk up, let alone a casino’s. Even more dazzling, those numbers represent a staggering 14.8 percent bump over the same time last year. We bet some casino bosses from Vegas are scrambling now, trying to figure out how the heck they did that hat trick.

Baccarat Is the Secret

Turns out the secret lies with the elegant, if completely luck-based, game of baccarat, long a staple of casinos everywhere, but apparently incredibly popular with Asian gamblers.  When we say “incredibly,” it’s no exaggeration, because of that $10.66 billion, 91 percent of it came from the game that some say dates back to Etruscan times.  In fact, according to the official Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, a whopping two-thirds of that first quarter overall revenue came specifically from VIP baccarat, with a $7.3 billion take; while the balance came from “standard” baccarat, which pulled in 23 percent of the monies at $2.5 billion. Nice work if you can get it, and you can get it if you’re Macau, it seems.

Slot Machines Also Profitable

Also pulling their weight this quarter were baccarat’s much less glamorous, working plow horse of a cousin: slot machines (have you ever seen James Bond on a slot machine? We rest our case). Slots were responsible for $446 million for the quarter, which, in comparison to the Bond game, now sounds like mere chump change, but is, in fact,  a pretty nice performance figure.

Bringing up the profit rear were Cussec (a variation of chuck-a-luck; we have no clue what that is either, but we’re told Cussec is very popular in Asian countries), which reaped $194 million; and then horse and dog racing, scratch cards, sports betting and Chinese lotteries.