Banking group Morgan Stanley says the results of a survey of hotels in Macau indicate that fewer were fully booked for the Christmas and New Year period this season than a year ago – which may or may not be a sign that December holiday business in Macau casinos will be slower this year than last.
A note issued by the stockbroking arm of the investment bank on December 18 says the survey, done on December 12, found that 11 out of the 23 hotels surveyed were fully booked for at least four nights between December 21 this year and January 1 next year.
Morgan Stanley says a similar survey last season found that 13 of the 21 hotels surveyed were fully booked for at least four nights in the corresponding period.
The difference may be explained by Macau having more hotel rooms this season than last, the extra rooms being in the MGM Cotai and Morpheus hotels – promoted respectively by MGM China Holdings Ltd and Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd – noted Morgan Stanley analysts Praveen Choudhary and Jeremy An wrote.
Most gamblers in the casinos are tourists, and overnight visitors are usually regarded as being more valuable sources of revenue for the casinos than day-trippers.
But some investment analysts say there need not be a direct correlation between the headline number of visitors to Macau and the performance of the city’s gross gaming revenue (GGR), as a relatively small number of high rollers or well-heeled cash players account for a disproportionately large amount of GGR.
Official data indicate that average GGR per month in Macau in the first 11 months of this year was nearly MOP276.38 billion (US$34.29 billion), 13.7 percent more than in the corresponding period last year, while the number of visitors to the city rose by just 9.1 percent to 32.2 million.
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“We see that basically the ‘golden’ periods [for Macau's casino industry] are all concentrated in the second half of this year”
Lei Wai Nong
Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance