The global gaming market will continue to recover “as Asia eases restrictions,” says a Monday memo from Moody’s Investors Service Inc. “The gaming recovery will continue as travel restrictions ease across South and Southeast Asia, even as China, Macau and Hong Kong remain more restrictive,” stated the institution.
Moody’s said it expected earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in the gaming sector “to jump 30 percent to 35 percent over the next 12 to 18 months.” Such growth would “still fall below the stellar (and anomalous) bounce-back in 2021 and continue to lag pre-pandemic 2019 levels in 2022,” it stated.
“We expect to see the sector return to pre-pandemic levels by 2023 as travel normalises across Asia and on the back of incremental growth in the United States – especially Las Vegas – and parts of Europe,” added the ratings agency.
A number of Asian casino jurisdictions has either eased travel restrictions or announced plans to do so in the near future.
Singapore – home to a casino duopoly – has removed from Tuesday (April 26) all Covid-19 test requirements for fully-vaccinated visitors. The city-state had already dropped on April 1 most restrictions for inoculated travellers, and people can now arrive there without having to undergo quarantine or have a Covid-19 test on arrival.
In March, South Korea, host to several casino resorts, waived a seven-day quarantine-on-arrival for inbound travellers that are fully-vaccinated – via three jabs – against Covid-19.
In Malaysia – which has a single casino complex, Resorts World Genting – health minister Khairy Jamaluddin said on Monday that his government would announce this week further easing of Covid-19 countermeasures in the country, according to media reports.
China has adopted a so-called “dynamic zero-Covid” approach, and its borders are closed to most travellers from overseas. Macau has also kept its borders closed to most non-resident citizens since the onset of the pandemic, in early 2020.
Mainland China is the only place to have a mostly quarantine-free travel bubble with Macau.
In Monday’s report, Moody’s said it expected the growth in the U.S. gaming market to ease, but noted there would “still be incremental growth as business travel kicks back to life.”
“The U.S. has already largely recovered from sharp losses in mid 2020, with U.S. regional gaming recovering first on the back of strong domestic travel as consumers have stayed closer to home,” said the institution.
“Las Vegas has also largely recovered to pre-pandemic levels at this point, even without the benefit of a business travel revival,” it added. “As business travel resumes, we see scope for incremental growth in conference centres such as Las Vegas.”
The gaming market in Europe would “also benefit” as travel restrictions there ease, suggested Moody’s.
“In Europe, we expect some brick and mortar gaming operations to improve along with travel and fewer restrictions, while online – which did exceptionally well in Europe over 2021, as people hunkered at home – will remain solid,” it stated.
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