Two stockbroking firms reckon gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Macau casinos flowed in at the average rate of about MOP750 million (US$92.89 million) a day in the first four days of August, or 5 percent more slowly than in all of July.
The stockbroking arm of Nomura and Sanford C. Bernstein issued on Monday notes containing their estimates of Macau casino GGR in the first four days of the month.
Both stockbrokers took into account their estimates in making forecasts that GGR in Macau casinos will be lower in August than a year ago, showing an annual fall for the second month in a row.
Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau figures indicate that casino GGR in the city fell to MOP24.45 billion in July, 3.5 percent less than a year earlier.
The Nomura note said of Macau casino GGR in the first four days of August: “We believe GGR per day benefited from a higher weekend (Friday and Saturday) to weekday ratio, which helped daily GGR by an estimated MOP64 million.”
But, the note added, “Offsetting the positive impact from a higher weekend mix was Tropical Storm Wipha, which was signalled as a Number 8 typhoon on August 1.”
Nomura forecasts that Macau casino GGR will be between MOP25 billion and MOP26 billion in August – that is, up to 5 percent less than a year ago.
“The about 0 percent to 5 percent year-on-year decline we estimate for August is roughly consistent with July’s minus 3.5 percent year-on-year change,” the note said. “However, we expect positive GGR growth to resume in September, given much easier one-year growth comps.”
The Sanford C. Bernstein note said of Macau casino GGR in the first four days of August: “GGR month-to-date was impacted by Typhoon Wipha, which disrupted transportation.”
It continued: “Additionally, we are beginning to see a negative impact from the protests in Hong Kong, which is causing some transport disruption (on weekends, largely, so far) and beginning to create a headwind to China visitation into Hong Kong (and onward visitation into Macau).”
The note added: “Further, the negativity surrounding Suncity continues to pressure junket VIP as agents withdraw some funds and delay visiting Macau. Overall negativity surrounding the geopolitical and macro situation is having a negative impact on GGR.”
That was a reference to a July report by Chinese state-backed media that alleged that Suncity Group had been involved in operating an online gaming platform for play outside Macau, allegations publicly denied by the company.
The privately-held Suncity Group and its chairman Alvin Chau Cheok Wa have been mentioned in media reports in Australia as being the target of an investigation by authorities in that country. Another company controlled by Mr Chau – Hong Kong-listed Suncity Group Holdings Ltd – has said in a Monday filing that neither the firm nor Mr Chau are currently being investigated by authorities in Australia.
In its Monday memo, Sanford C. Bernstein forecasts that Macau casino GGR in August will be between 2 percent and 4 percent lower than a year ago.
“The first four days of August (comprising a full weekend) started off poorly, with low VIP volumes (hold was around normal) and softer-than-anticipated mass,” the note said. “Delivering positive growth in August would need to rely on outsized VIP volumes and higher hold – something not in our forecast,” it added.
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”It was a strong quarter for our global gaming business. Unit sales of gaming machines were 44-percent greater than the prior year period, driven by a 62 percent increase in replacement units”
Chief executive of gaming and lottery equipment provider IGT