The most precious asset in Macau isn't a fancy hotel suite, a wonderful location, or resort attractions. The asset every casino owner fights for is table games.

As Las Vegas Sands , Wynn Resorts , and Melco Crown have expanded their empires in China's gaming enclave, the one thing that determines a resort's success is how many tables you have and how much you can get out of each table.

As each company builds a single new resort on Cotai, the returns each generates will be determined by the money lost on those tables. Some companies get more out of each table, which should boost returns for investors.


Getting the most out of Macau's gaming tables
Below I've laid out the amount won each day over the first six months of this year at the main resorts for Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts, and Melco Crown. The data includes table games, which drive results due to baccarat play, and also slot win per day.

Casino

Owner

Table Games Win per Unit per Day

Slot Machine Win per Unit per Day

The Venetian Macau

Las Vegas Sands 

$17,325

$317

Four Seasons Macau

Las Vegas Sands

$21,900

$626

Sands Cotai Central

Las Vegas Sands

$13,653

$246

Sands Macau

Las Vegas Sands

$12,255

$239

Wynn Macau

Wynn Resorts 

$25,060

$769

City of Dreams

Melco Crown 

$25,694

$335

Source: Company earnings releases.

You can see that City of Dreams leads the way, with Wynn Macau close behind, both generating more than $25,000 in revenue from each table. It's no wonder Melco Crown has been the hottest stock in gaming with results like that. Wynn's results are a bit more surprising because it is currently relegated to the Macau Peninsula, which is the old area of Macau compared to the new developments on Cotai. 

What it means for the future
The reason this is important is that new resorts will drive each of these stocks going forward, and the more each company can get out of each table, the better. Las Vegas Sands is planning to complete the Parisian in 2015 with 450 table games. Wynn Cotai is due in early 2016 and Steve Wynn has planned on 500 table games at the new resort. Rounding out the three is Melco Crown, which doesn't have approval to put table games in its casino but still plans to put 500 table games in the resort.

Below I've laid out a rough sketch of what gaming revenue could look like at these resorts given table win above and the number of tables expected.

Casino

Table Games

Table Games Win per Unit per Day

Potential Annual Gaming Revenue

The Parisian

$18,000

450

$2.96 billion

Studio City

$25,000

500

$4.56 billion

Wynn Cotai 

$25,000

500

$4.56 billion

We still don't know who will be awarded tables or when, and that, along with who is able to squeeze the most out of the tables they have, will determine who generates the highest returns.

Foolish bottom line
What we do know is that on a per-table basis, Melco Crown gets the most out of its tables right now and would be a huge winner if Studio City is given tables. That's also the biggest risk for the company. 

One reason I like Wynn Resorts going forward is that it usually generates more win per table per day than any other resort in its area. When Wynn finally opens its resort on Cotai, it has the chance to be the most profitable in the region, much like Wynn Macau outperforms neighbor Sands Macau by more than double on the Macau Peninsula. It'll take three years to see if the same trend unfolds on Cotai.

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The article Who Gets the Most Out of Macau Gaming? originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Travis Hoium manages an account that owns shares of Wynn Resorts. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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