Macau casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the first six days of April was flat compared to the prior week, despite visitor volumes increasing over the period, estimates brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd in a Wednesday memo.
The full-month GGR for April could contract in the “high 50s percent” when compared to the pre-pandemic period in April 2019, added the institution.
Macau’s average daily rate (ADR) of GGR for April 1 to April 6 was MOP250 million (US$31.2 million), which had “remained flat” compared to the prior-week ADR of MOP246 million. The ADR for the first six days of this month was down 7 percent from March’s daily average, and was also down 68 percent when compared to April 2019, the brokerage said.
“While visitation has been picking up, what is evidently relatively weak GGR clearly indicates lower spend per visitor,” Sanford Bernstein analysts Vitaly Umansky, Kelsey Zhu and Louis Li wrote in the Wednesday note. The team expected however that Macau’s GGR trend could improve “through April and May”, and see “strong improvement” beginning in the second half of this year.
The city is expecting a stronger flow of tourists from mainland China for the upcoming Labour Day break, on May 1, said Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) director, Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, in an interview with local public broadcaster TDM Chinese radio. The MGTO official did not give an estimate on the number of inbound visitor arrivals for that holiday period.
China’s State Council has designated May 1 (a Saturday) to May 5 as this year’s Labour Day holiday period.
“…without a major change to Covid[-19] testing requirements for entry into Macau, IVS [Individual Visit Scheme] or group visa issuance changes, and the opening of Hong Kong; GGR and visitation will remain below normal levels and GGR recovery will face headwinds,” the Sanford Bernstein team wrote.
The analysts added: “We expect a more robust GGR uplift to begin this summer as travel impediments are removed and visitation increases. The key jump in visitors will come when IVS visa processing switches back to e-visa and group visa/travel is allowed.”
The Sanford Bernstein team estimated that Macau’s casino GGR for this year will grow 210 percent year-on-year, in other words reaching 64 percent of the GGR levels of 2019, with mass-market play reaching three-quarters of 2019 levels, and VIP rising to under half of 2019 levels, according to the brokerage’s Wednesday memo.
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"The Macau recovery continues to be disrupted by false starts, while the lack of [Chinese] public holidays for rest of the year should cap the pace of the rebound”
Andrew Lee and David Katz
Analysts at brokerage Jefferies LLC