Macau casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) declined by 93.2 percent in May in year-on-year terms, according to official data released on Monday.
Such May GGR was just above MOP1.76 billion (US$220.9 million), said the city’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, a body also known as DICJ.
Judged month-on-month, the May tally was up by 134.0 percent.
April GGR had shrunk by nearly 97 percent from the prior-year period, according to government data. The slumps have coincided with certain travel restrictions regionally since the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The latest monthly result puts the Macau market’s accumulated 2020 year-on-year decline at 73.7 percent, to MOP33.0 billion.
The average daily rate of Macau casino GGR actually fell into negative territory judged year-on-year for the seven days from May 18 to May 24, influenced by the small base of players during the Covid-19 pandemic and hold volatility, said a May 25 note from brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd.
The institution noted in a Monday memo responding to the May GGR figure, that the decline was less harsh than the Bloomberg polling consensus of -95 percent.
“Average daily revenue for May was MOP57 million… 126 percent versus April and -66 percent versus March,” Sanford Bernstein noted.
Travel restrictions remained “in place” which had” limited visitation and revenue,” said the brokerage. The institution reiterated its observation earlier in May that revenue had been driven by a “very small number of players which drove significant volatility especially in the VIP segment”.
Macau has not had a Covid-19 case since early April. All 45 confirmed patients have been released from hospital care, and the city recorded no death from the disease.
But travel between Macau and Hong Kong is still subject ordinarily to a 14-day quarantine period in each direction. Mainlanders entering Macau have no quarantine restrictions, but those wishing to return to the mainland after a visit to Macau are currently subject to a 14-day quarantine requirement. There is however restrictions in the issuance of visas by the Chinese authorities for mainlanders to travel to Macau. The ones allowed to visit Macau need to be tested for Covid-19 before being allowed to enter the city.
The mainland and Hong Kong are usually key markets for supplying gamblers for Macau casinos.
Brokerage JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd said it now expected a “travel bubble” plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area “to be announced in early June (probably around June 7, which is the expiry date of Hong Kong’s mandatory quarantine).”
“This should be a meaningful first step toward the industry’s return to normalcy, considering that Guangdong and Hong Kong are the source of the majority of Macau’s visitors,” said the JP Morgan analysts in a Monday note. “This should be followed by gradual easing for the rest of China, which we think could kick in during late July or August, as governments may want to observe the trend after re-opening for at least a month or so.”
Macau’s gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 48.7 percent year-on-year in real terms in the first quarter of 2020, said on Saturday the city’s Statistics and Census Service. It was the fifth straight quarterly decline in the city’s economic output, according to the data.
(Updated 4pm, June 1)
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