The Macau market’s casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the upcoming Golden Week may be only “30 to 35 percent” of that seen in the same holiday period a year ago, said Ambrose So Shu Fai, vice-chairman and chief executive of Macau casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd, in comments to Hong Kong media. He cited to the Hong Kong Economic Journal, factors including the Covid-19 virus test requirement in order for a player to enter Macau casino gaming areas, and social distancing measures.
Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, boss of Macau junket brand Suncity, was similarly cautious about Golden Week, in commentary to the same media outlet, plumping for a year-on-year performance of only “20 percent to 30 percent” of 2019 levels.
China’s State Council has designated October 1 to October 8, inclusive, as the holiday period.
The Suncity Group boss also admitted – as cited by the Economic Journal – that mainland China’s controls on capital flows had affected Macau’s VIP gaming business, as had the greater number of regulations regarding travel to Macau, and casino-floor entry.
Macau junkets might need to wait until the Chinese New Year holiday in 2021 for a more “apparent recovery” in their trade, Mr Chau, added. The account gave no mention of reasons for Mr Chau’s belief in that regard.
A number of investment analysts has already suggested factors – including mainland Chinese VIPs looking for recovery in their underlying wealth-producing business ventures – as possibly taking the shine off Golden Week for this year.
At present, Macau has in effect a ‘travel bubble’ only with mainland China. Applications for tourist exit visas from Guangdong province for visits to Macau – including those under the Individual Visit Scheme – were opened again on August 26, by the mainland authorities. Applications for the same permits for people in other parts of China are to restart on Wednesday (September 23).
These travellers from mainland China would also be exempt from undertaking a mandated 14-day quarantine in Macau as long as they can produce a certificate showing they are free from Covid-19 infection, and it must have been issued within seven days of their arrival in Macau.
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”The notion that somehow the Macau gaming companies can be used by China as negotiating pawns in a geopolitical negotiation with the U.S. is definitely without merit”
Vitaly Umansky, Louis Li and Kelsey Zhu
Analysts at brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd