Average Macau daily casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the week from September 14 to 20 inclusive “was disappointing”, at MOP1.8 billion (US$225.5 million), despite an increase in visitor arrivals to the city, said a Monday note from brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd.
The institution estimated – based on what it termed “channel checks” – that the average daily rate for last week’s GGR was down 90 percent from the previous week. For the first 20 days of September, the average daily rate was about MOP90 million, down 88 percent from the prior year, but a sequential improvement of circa 110 percent.
Macau’s September casino GGR is likely to see year-on-year decline in the “mid-80s” percentage-wise, stated Sanford Bernstein in its memo.
The brokerage observed that since exit-visa processing for Macau-tourism purposes by residents of Zhuhai and Guangdong province as a whole was resumed respectively on August 12 and August 26, average daily visitor numbers to Macau had “continue to climb”, reaching 18,400 on September 16, up from approximately 5,000 daily in early August.
Macau recorded 227,113 visitor arrivals in August, up 206.9 percent on the prior month, said a Monday announcement from the city’s Statistics and Census Service.
The Sanford Bernstein team added: “We expect the visitation to continue to increase over the next several months. Visa issuances for the rest of mainland China will begin on September 23 and should begin to boost visitation and GGR by mid-October, but Golden Week is likely to be subdued.”
Sanford Bernstein suggested the authorities were taking approximately 10 days to issue exit visas under the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) system, noting the tourists applying for such permits also needed to obtain a certificate showing freedom from Covid-19 infection, in order to be allowed into Macau. Such a certificate must have been issued within seven days of the visitor’s planned arrival in the city. A valid test certificate must also be tendered in order to gain entry to Macau’s casinos.
Ambrose So Shu Fai, chief executive of Macau casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd, said recently that the Macau market’s GGR in the upcoming Golden Week may be only “30 to 35 percent” of that seen in the same holiday period a year ago. He cited factors including the Covid-19 virus test requirement in order for a player to enter a gaming venue, and social distancing measures.
China’s State Council has designated October 1 to October 8, inclusive, as the holiday period.
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Tax revenue collected by the Macau government from the city’s gaming industry in the first three months of 2021