Macau casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) for the first nine days of January was down more than 9 percent compared to the final third of December, with the average daily rate at MOP266 million (US$33.1 million) versus MOP293 million in the last 12 days of December, said a Monday note from brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd, citing its own “channel checks”. The figure for the first nine days of January was still an improvement on the MOP257-million average daily rate for the full month of December.
Macau’s month-to-date GGR of MOP2.4 billion was down – in terms of average daily rate – by 67 percent compared to January 2019’s average daily rate of MOP805 million, but up 3 percent year-on-year versus January 2021’s average daily rate of MOP259 million, said analyst Vitaly Umansky.
“During January 2022 month-to-date, VIP average daily rolling volume was down 50 percent month-on-month as junket activity continues to wind down – December 2021 VIP volume was already down 40 percent to 45 percent month-on-month, and the majority of VIP GGR was generated by direct VIP,” wrote Mr Umansky.
He added: “Daily mass GGR was strong and up by 10 percent to 15 percent from December 2021.”
The memo stated: “VIP is – and will most likely remain – weak as the junket business is being retrenched.” The mass segment had been “performing well” as visitor volume to Macau “further increased during the New-Year holiday weekend”.
The institution said – citing official data and its own research – that the average daily volume of arrivals and departures by visitors to Macau for December 30 to January 5 inclusive, was 63,000, i.e., up 5 percent on the prior week. Sanford Bernstein also stated that daily visitor volume for January 1 to 5 inclusive, had been up 17 percent on the monthly average in December.
But the brokerage voiced some caution regarding mainland China’s Covid-19 outlook. According to media reports, a number of local Covid-19 cases has been detected in Shenzhen, Guangdong, near that mainland province’s border with Hong Kong. Macau also shares a border with Guangdong.
All ferry services between Macau and Shenzhen have been halted since Sunday (January 9), until further notice. The suspension was confirmed by the Macau government in a Saturday written announcement.
On Monday, the Global Times, a mainland newspaper, reported that the Chinese mainland had reported a total of 157 new Covid-19 cases, of which 97 were locally transmitted infections. The majority of cases were in central China’s Henan province, with 60 cases, stated the newspaper.
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”As the Macau gaming revenue structure is now leaning heavily towards the mass business … once the border fully reopens, the recovery from mass should drive the sector to bounce more swiftly”
Vitaly Umansky, Louis Li and Shirley Yang
Analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein