The average daily rate of Macau casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) actually fell into negative territory judged year-on-year for the seven days from May 18 to May 24, influenced by the small base of players during the Covid-19 pandemic and hold volatility, said a Monday note from brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd.
The average daily rate for those days was estimated to be approximately minus MOP25 million (US$3.1 million), meaning it was minus 103 percent year-on-year.
Revenue for that period “was driven by a very small number of players which drove significant volatility especially in the VIP segment,” wrote analysts Vitaly Umansky , Eunice Lee and Kelsey Zhu.
“VIP hold rate for last week was in the negative range, but we estimate month-to-date VIP hold rate was around the normal range,” they added.
For the whole of May, the brokerage has revised its Macau GGR estimate to a contraction of 95 percent to 97 percent, “largely depending on hold volatility and when visitation may resume”.
The institution’s analysts added: “Our contacts we have spoken with do not see any definitive clarity on travel restrictions improvement, but we expect GGR to pick up again when travel restrictions begin to be lifted.”
The brokerage reiterated the idea that some information could emerge in the aftermath of the National People’s Congress session in Beijing.
“We expect border restrictions between Macau/Hong Kong and Macau/Guangdong to be lifted sometime in the next few weeks, in late May or early June,” stated Sanford Bernstein, noting Macau – which has had only 45 confirmed local cases of Covid-19 – had not had a new case since early April, and had discharged the last Covid-19 patient from hospital care.
“The three jurisdictions remain in discussion about reducing travel restrictions, and quarantine requirements are likely to be significantly reduced for certain travellers in the near term,” suggested the brokerage.
Sanford Bernstein said checks with sources suggested Macau’s GGR for May 1 to 24 was approximately MOP700 million with a month-to-date average daily rate of approximately MOP30 million.
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