The Macau casino market’s average daily rate of gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the week from June 15 to June 20 was down about 24 percent week-on-week, driven by tightened travel rules for inbound travellers from parts of mainland China including some places in Guangdong, amid fresh Covid-19 cases, says a Monday note from Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd.
The week’s daily-GGR average was also down nearly 51 percent from May 2021, suggested the brokerage.
The institution said its market checks suggested that for June 1 to June 20 inclusive, average daily GGR was MOP205 million (US$25.6 million), down circa 39 percent on the MOP337 million daily average achieved in May.
The daily performance so far was also about 74 percent down on the daily average for June 2019, i.e., in terms of year-on-year comparison to pre-pandemic trading conditions.
Due to the related travel restrictions, Sanford Bernstein is now forecasting Macau June GGR “to be down circa 40 percent” from May, and about 70 percent from 2019.
Hold in the VIP segment “is at normal rate, and VIP volume saw a 40 percent decrease in average daily rolling volume month-on-month,” stated analysts Vitaly Umansky, Louis Li, and Kelsey Zhu. “Average daily mass GGR is also down 32 percent to 35 percent from May,” the analysts wrote.
Since June 8, people intending to enter Macau from Guangdong must hold a nucleic acid test certificate issued within 48 hours, proving they are ‘negative’ for Covid-19 infection. Guangdong province has been the largest-single source of Macau’s inbound mainland Chinese tourists in recent months, according to official data.
The Sanford Bernstein team added: “The new wave of Covid-19 cases in Guangdong (the largest feeder market) has subsided as the province’s daily local cases have dropped to single-digit, but new Delta (Indian) variant cases were detected that led to continuous lock downs.”
“Macau will continue to experience headwinds through 2021, but we see GGR improvement beginning in the second half as Covid-related travel constraints begin to fall away,” stated the brokerage.
The institution said additionally that it expected a Macau-Hong Kong travel bubble “could be launched later this summer, following some period of reduced quarantine requirement,” as the authorities from the two sides are to “resume discussions” as a new wave of Covid-19 in Hong Kong “looks to have subsided.”
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Daisy Ho Chiu Fung
Chairman of Macau casino operator SJM Holdings