Macau’s daily casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) between March 14 and March 20 fell to MOP100 million (US$12.4 million), down 13 percent week-on-week, estimates a Monday note from brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd. It was the “lowest average daily rate since the Zhuhai Covid outbreak in January,” added the institution.
Macau upped last week its travel restrictions for inbound travellers from mainland China. Since Friday, people intending to enter Macau via any boundary checkpoints with neighbouring Zhuhai, in Guangdong province, must hold a nucleic acid test certificate issued within 24 hours proving they are ‘negative’ for Covid-19 infection.
Currently, quarantine restrictions in Macau also apply for several other places in Guangdong, as well as to a number of other mainland provinces and regions.
The measures were announced amid a rise in the number of local Covid-19 infections reported on the mainland, which led to city-wide lockdowns in some areas. On Monday, the mainland authorities reported 1,947 new locally transmitted Covid-19 infections.
“The Covid outbreaks will cap Macau’s visitation and GGR for the rest of March and into April (and potentially into May),” suggested Sanford Bernstein analyst Vitaly Umansky in Monday’s memo.
According to the brokerage, Macau’s GGR in the first 20 days of March was MOP2.6 billion, with an average daily rate of MOP130 million, down 51 percent from the prior-year period.
The institution also noted that the Covid-19 outbreak in Hong Kong was “stabilising”. The Hong Kong government said on Monday it would ease pandemic-control measures from April 1, including reducing from 14 to seven days the quarantine for fully vaccinated residents returning from overseas, and lift flight bans on nine countries that were deemed of “higher risk” of Covid-19 spread.
“With that, the reopening with China may be further delayed and we would not expect opening even until the summer at this stage, and it could be delayed even further depending on the Covid situation,” suggested Mr Umansky. “We expect a phased reopening with Macau to begin soon after Hong Kong-China reopen.”
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Elsie Ao Ieong U
Macau Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture