Brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd has suggested Macau casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) has “plummeted” since mid-March due to a ramping up of travel restrictions by respectively the Macau government, mainland China and other jurisdictions, in an effort to control locally the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“Macau continues to suffer from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic,” stated analysts Vitaly Umansky, Eunice Lee and Kelsey Zhu in a Monday memo.
The month-to-date average daily rate of GGR in the Macau market “is -87 percent compared to April 2019,” they wrote. The trio indicated that average daily GGR in April 2019 had been MOP786 million (about US$98 million).
The institution said its “channel checks” indicated that Macau’s GGR for April 1 to 5 was about MOP500 million with a month-to-date average daily rate of about MOP100 million.
The brokerage noted: “We estimate VIP has been stronger than mass, driven by a small number of players, with normal hold in VIP and significant volatility.”
Sanford Bernstein noted in its Monday memo that a “pickup in coronavirus cases leading to new travel restrictions in mid-March,” had “plummeted GGR and visitation” to Macau.
Data from the city’s Public Security Police, the body responsible for monitoring border traffic, indicated that on some days last week fewer than 300 visitors entered the city.
Macau had an initial 10 cases of Covid-19, the infection associated with the coronavirus, reported in late January and early February. All the patients recovered after hospital treatment. Subsequently since mid-March, there have been a further 34 cases – all involving infection linked to patients with recent travel history and coming from outside Macau.
Sanford Bernstein estimated April GGR might shrink by “95 percent-plus”, with the actual number “largely dependent on status of travel restrictions”. Such GGR “could be down closer to 100 percent if travel restrictions stay firmly in place,” added the institution.
“The gaming operators and other Macau-based contacts we have spoken with do not see any clarity on timing of recovery” in relation to the “visa situation improvement,” added Sanford Bernstein. That was understood to be a reference to exit permits for either independent travellers or tour groups from mainland China to visit Macau.
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