Macau visitor numbers during the Easter weekend remained strong despite the period not being a holiday in mainland China, said a Monday note from investment analyst Christopher Jones.
“Reports out of the region suggest that [gambling] volumes remained stable versus last week, and do not have appeared to have dropped off ahead of May’s Golden Week,” wrote Mr Jones of the Buckingham Research Group Inc, referring latterly to a Chinese holiday period around the May 1 Labour Day festivities.
He stated: “Additionally, visitation on Cotai and the peninsula remained strong through the Easter weekend. Considering that Easter is not a Chinese holiday, we view this as a positive for the region.”
Around 427,000 visitors entered Macau between Friday April 14 and Monday April 17 inclusive, according to data supplied by the city’s Public Security Police. That represented an increase of 5.6 percent over the same period last year.
Grant Bowie, chief executive and executive director of Macau casino operator MGM China Holdings Ltd, operator of the MGM Macau casino hotel, said on the sidelines of a company event on Monday that during Easter his firm’s clients typically came from the Hong Kong market. Easter is observed as a public holiday period in the neighbouring special administrative region. According to media reports, Mr Bowie added he expected his hotel’s occupancy for the upcoming Labour Day holiday to be “good”.
Analyst David Bain of Aegis Capital Corp said in a Monday note: “While we expect minor GGR [gross gaming revenue] deceleration coming off the long Easter weekend holiday which benefited [from] Hong Kong traffic to Macau, we now see [April] GGR finishing near or above the high end of our estimate range.”
That growth range had previously been identified by the brokerage as 13 percent to 16 percent judged year-on-year, but GGR for April could end up “slightly above” 20 percent, added Mr Bain.
Buckingham Research’s Mr Jones said in his Monday note that for the seven days to April 16 inclusive, the brokerage estimated Macau’s average daily revenues to be running at HKD650 million (US$83.6 million) to HKD669 million.
“The midpoint of this suggests year-on-year growth is running at approximately 13 percent, in line with our April projections,” wrote Mr Jones.
David Katz of Telsey Advisory Group LLC said in a Monday note regarding April casino GGR: “Indications are that VIP hold has been mixed across the properties and therefore net neutral to the result, while headcounts have remained strong in both Cotai and on the peninsula.”
He estimated April’s year-on-year GGR expansion could be as high as 22 percent.
(Updated at 5.20pm, April 18)
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