Macau casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) declined by 96.8 percent in April in year-on-year terms, and was also down month-on-month from March, according to official data.
Such April GGR was MOP754 million (US$94.4 million), showed data issued on Friday by the city’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, a body also known as DICJ.
Judged month-on-month, the April tally was down by 85.7 percent. March GGR had shrunk by nearly 80 percent from the prior-year period, according to government data.
The latest monthly result puts the Macau market’s accumulated 2020 year-on-year decline at 68.7 percent, to MOP31.24 billion.
The April GGR decline “was largely driven by new travel restrictions in place since late March and below normal hold rate in the second half of the month,” said brokerage Sanford C Bernstein Ltd in a Friday note. “We estimate VIP was stronger than mass during the month, with higher hold in VIP and significant volatility.”
The institution said it expected border restrictions between Macau and mainland China – particularly with Guangdong province – to be “lifted sometime in the next few weeks”. It added: “It is uncertain when IVS [Individual Visit Scheme] issuances may begin, but if the trajectory of cases continues, we would expect to see some form of IVS visa begin in June and continue in a phased manner with group visa issuances beginning late this summer.”
The Sanford Bernstein said it estimated May to be down between 90 percent and 95 percent.
Investment analysts have suggested that Macau casino GGR has “plummeted” since mid-March due to a ramping up of travel restrictions by respectively the Macau government, mainland China and other jurisdictions, in an effort to control locally the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The April GGR performance came against a background of very low numbers of daily visitors judged year-on-year.
According to official data, Macau had been receiving a few hundred visitors per day in April. In 2019 the statistical daily average was circa 108,000 tourist visitors per day, based on that year’s tally of 39.4 million arrivals as reported previously be the city’s Statistics and Census Service.
Brokerage Union Gaming Securities LLC said in a note last week that Macau gaming operators could see a sequential recovery in business post-coronavirus throughout 2021. Market-wide the firms could see by the end of that year casino GGR getting back to approximately 80 percent of 2019 levels, it stated. The institution said it was forecasting Macau GGR to decline approximately 75 percent in second-quarter 2020.
Instinet LLC, the research arm of Nomura, last month said it expected a “slow” recovery in the Macau market “to begin in June”. Another brokerage, JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd, said earlier this week that a possible strong post- Covid-19 demand for Macau gaming services later this year might mean the city’s casino GGR for the whole of 2020 only falling year-on-year by circa 39 percent.
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"There’s a huge amount of possibilities out there and in the case of Macau, it seems that some of these issues should be considered or we may lose the epithet of gambling capital of the world"
Macau-based lawyer and senior partner at law firm Rato, Ling, Lei and Cortés