Average daily Macau casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the first eight days of January had already reached more than double the daily average achieved in the fourth quarter, and that was even before Macau cancelled from Sunday (January 8) most of its travel restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic, says a brokerage’s Monday note.
And for the Chinese New Year holiday, due to run from January 21 to 27, the GGR volume for mass-market gaming could be “hitting 50 percent of 2019 Lunar New Year,” wrote JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd.
For the first eight days of the new calendar year, JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd estimated Macau casino GGR at MOP2.1 billion (US$261.1 million), “implying circa MOP260 million per day,” wrote analyst DS Kim, citing industry checks.
“This represents a 30-percent-plus recovery versus pre-Covid-19 levels, and more than double fourth quarter or full-year 2022” daily levels, which had been circa MOP120 million, he stated.
This was “very encouraging” for investors, as it was only on the last day of the eight-day period that the dropping of most Covid-related protocols on those arriving via either mainland China, Hong Kong or Taiwan, were dropped.
Mr Kim also noted that on Sunday, Macau daily visitor volume had “snapped back to 40,000”, compared to “around 15,000 to 20,000 per day over the past two years”.
According to Macau government data, the daily visitor volume for Monday was around 35,000, meaning the first two days of rule relaxation coincided with the appearance of 75,000 visitors in aggregate.
Mr Kim stated in his Monday note that the GGR volume for the first eight days of January “implies a mass GGR recovery of 45 percent to 50 percent versus pre-Covid-19, if we assume that VIP [formerly] accounted for 10 percent to 15 percent” of pre-pandemic daily GGR.
Mr Kim had last week already flagged the brokeage was more optimistic regarding Macau’s Chinese New Year gambling business, based on the rule relaxations that had been announced up to that point, as China continued the process of unwinding its ‘zero-Covid’ policy.
In his latest memo, he observed: “It seems that Macau hotels will likely be near-sold-out for the holiday: in fact, good/affordable rooms are already not easy to find even for the coming days and weekend, a typical lull period before the long holiday.”
He added: “We wouldn’t be surprised to see mass demand hitting 50-percent-plus of 2019 lunar new year. If this happens, it should comfortably beat both sell-side and buy-side expectations, in our view.”
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