Macau’s casinos will remain closed temporarily for an additional five days, as the government announced on Saturday that a pause to all non-essential business venues in the city would be extended to the end of Friday, July 22.
All of the city’s non-essential businesses – including casinos – have been shut since July 11, as a Covid-19 countermeasure. Under the partial lockdown, residents are also banned from leaving their homes unless for what is deemed a valid reason, such as buying groceries.
Macau had a total of 1,706 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of midnight on Friday, in the current local outbreak since June 18. A total of 31 new infections was detected on Friday, according to the local health authorities.
The city’s authorities have conducted so far 10 rounds of Covid-19 community nucleic acid testing (pictured) since a current testing programme started on June 19. A number of large gaming-resort hotels in Macau are being made available for quarantine purposes.
A number of the city’s non-gaming entertainment venues, including cinemas, amusements parks and spas, have been closed since June 23. Outdoor leisure areas, such as parks, gardens and beaches, are also shut, while restaurant dining-in has been temporarily banned, with only takeaway sales allowed.
Macau casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) fell to its lowest monthly tally this year in June – and the lowest since September 2020. It amounted to MOP2.48 billion (US$306.8 million), equivalent to a daily average rate of MOP82.6 million.
Macau’s average daily GGR for the first 10 days of July stood at MOP20 million, estimated brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd in a recent note.
Brokerage JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd said in a separate note on Monday that third-quarter Macau casino GGR was at risk due to the ongoing community outbreak of Covid-19. It added that, due to such expected decline, it was “worth revisiting” its liquidity analysis for the city’s six operators “under a zero-revenue environment”.
S&P Global Ratings cut its forecasts for Macau casino GGR for 2022 and 2023. It also placed several Macau operators on credit watch, with negative implications.
While a credit downgrade might eventually happen, Aras Poon, an associate director of S&P Global, said that a “default scenario” for Macau casino operators seemed “less likely in the next two years,” because debt maturities for the companies were “really spread out to the long term”.
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"We [estimate] that these illegal [currency exchange] transactions account for somewhere between 50 percent to 60 percent [of Macau's annual gross gaming revenue]”
Managing partner at IGamiX Management and Consulting