Macau casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) fell by 47.4 percent sequentially in August, to MOP4.44 billion (US$554.5 million), compared to MOP8.44 billion in July.
Judged year-on-year, August GGR was up 234.0 percent on the MOP1.33 billion achieved in August 2020, according to data issued on Wednesday by the city’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, a body also known as DICJ.
Investment analysts had suggested that August GGR this year was negatively affected by tighter countermeasures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Macau, coinciding with detection among four locals of the more infectious Delta-variant Covid-19.
The measures also involved, during the first three weeks of August, a tightening of Covid-19 test rules for inbound travellers by land, from neighbouring Guangdong province, the largest-single feeder market currently for Macau’s tourists. The tighter rules coincided in the same period with a decline in daily visitor arrivals from the mainland.
Only mainland China has currently a travel bubble with Macau that is largely quarantine-free.
The test validity period for inbound travellers by land via Guangdong was eased to seven days, from August 25.
Aggregate casino GGR in the first eight months of 2021 stood at nearly MOP61.91 billion, an increase of 70.1 percent on the MOP36.39 billion achieved in the prior-year period.
Commenting on Macau’s GGR for August, JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd stated the lacklustre performance “shouldn’t surprise anyone given well-documented travel restrictions and effective border closure until late August.” The brokerage added the result did not have “any meaningful read on forward estimates and [investor] sentiment” regarding Macau’s gaming market.
“Perhaps more importantly, this implies GGR run-rate improved to MOP220 million to MOP230 million per day during the last week of August, already rebounding back to June’s levels,” wrote analysts DS Kim, Amanda Cheng and Livy Lyu. “While one week doesn’t make a trend, a near-instant recovery post border normalisation bodes well for upcoming high season in fourth quarter, including the October Golden Week,” they added.
The latter was a reference to a holiday period encompassing China’s National Day on October 1. This is traditionally a peak season for Macau’s tourism and casino industries as hundreds of thousands of mainland Chinese tourists take advantage of the weeklong break to visit the city.
China’s State Council declared October 1 to October 7 as this year’s National Day holiday period on mainland China.
(Updated 4.30pm, Sept 1)
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