Senior executives from respectively Macau casino operators and what analysts say is the biggest-single investor in the city’s junket sector, have given mixed signals on the 2020 outlook for the city’s casino gross gaming revenue (GGR).
Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, boss of privately-held junket operator Suncity Group was cited as saying on the sidelines of a Sunday event in the city that Macau’s 2020 GGR might be “at least level” to that of this year. In comments to Chinese-language Macao Daily News, Mr Chau added that any negative headlines relating to mainland China’s money-supply policies and the United States-China trade war “would have been digested” by then.
The junket boss also believed the upcoming launch of new casino resort projects in Cotai next year could boost the city’s gaming earnings.
In the past, opening of new venues in the market had coincided with a general lift in the city’s casino earnings. Grand Lisboa Palace – SJM Holdings’ HKD39-billion (US$5 billion) Cotai casino resort project – could launch at best at the very end of the “second-half 2020”, suggested several brokerages following the company’s announcement of its third-quarter results.
Macau’s casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) fell 8.5 percent year-on-year in November to nearly MOP22.88 billion (US$2.84 billion), according to latest data released by the city’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. The November result meant that the aggregate of Macau casino GGR for the 11 months to November 30 stood at about MOP269.62 billion, a contraction of 2.4 percent year-on-year.
Macau’s casino revenue could still face challenges in 2020, Macao Daily News reported, citing respectively MGM China Holdings Ltd’s chief executive Grant Bowie; SJM Holdings Ltd executive director Angela Leong On Kei; and Sands China Ltd’s president Wilfred Wong Ying Wai speaking on the sidelines of the charity event “Walk for a Million 2019”.
Ms Leong remarked that she “would already be happy” if the city’s gaming revenue next year could equal 2019′s.
Whether or not the city’s gaming revenue could expand next year would depend on China’s macroeconomic situation, Mr Wong was cited by Macao Daily News as saying. The Sands China executive – who said he was “cautiously optimistic” on the city’s gaming earnings trend – believed that the U.S.-China trade war tension would not “get worse” than this year, but on the contrary could show signs of alleviations.
Mr Wong also remarked to the media that he believed VIP clients “could return” to Macau, given the city’s available supporting hardware and software for patrons in casino resorts.
A launch for a revamp of Four Seasons Macao, a venue promoted by Sands China, was expected to take place in the first half 2020. The rejig features further suite accommodation and the addition of “one gaming floor”, Mr Wong noted to GGRAsia in commentary last month.
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"The travel impediments [in mainland China] will lead to reduced visitation into Macau for the next few weeks at least, with Chinese New Year visitation being impacted"
Vitaly Umansky, Tianjiao Yu and Kelsey Zhu
Analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd