The Macau government issued on Thursday data regarding the first-quarter market split between revenue from VIP baccarat, mass-market table games, and electronic games.
The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, a body also known as DICJ, said in its latest announcement that first-quarter aggregate VIP gross gaming revenue (GGR) was just under MOP14.81 billion (US$1.86 billion), down 60.2 percent compared to MOP37.21 billion in the same quarter a year earlier.
VIP baccarat revenue as a proportion of all casino GGR in the first quarter was 48.58 percent, versus 48.86 percent in the first three months of 2019.
In the breakdown of first-quarter 2020, mass-market GGR including slots was nearly MOP15.68 billion, down 59.7 percent compared to MOP38.94 billion a year earlier.
Mass-market revenue as a proportion of all casino GGR in the first quarter this year stood at 51.42 percent, compared to 51.14 percent a year earlier. The mass-market segment had led in terms of revenue generated by the city’s casino industry for the past four quarters.
Mass-market baccarat GGR was MOP12.15 billion, down 59.3 percent compared to MOP29.88 billion in the same period last year. Mass-market baccarat had a 39.86-percent market share versus 39.24 percent in the year-earlier quarter.
It had already been disclosed on April 1 that Macau casino GGR was down 60 percent in year-on-year terms at just under MOP30.49 billion in the three months to March 31 amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, which started to affect the local tourism market just before Chinese New Year in late January.
Several brokerages have pointed out that the Macau casino industry continued to suffer from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Although there had been some improvement in performance after market reopening – subsequent to local casinos being ordered to close for a 15-day period in February – there had been from late March additional border restrictions between Macau and neighbouring Guangdong province that had a negative impact on gaming revenue.
Investment analysts had flagged that VIP had been “stronger than mass” in the remaining days of February and in March, with revenue likely driven “by a very small number of players”.
According to the official data released on Thursday, GGR from slot machines was MOP1.55 billion in the first quarter, down 58.4 percent versus MOP3.73 billion in the first quarter 2019. Slot machines’ share of Macau first-quarter revenue was 5.08 percent versus 4.90 percent in the initial three months of last year.
First-quarter 2020 revenue from live multi game products – those featuring table-style games with live dealers but electronic betting and electronic bet settlement – was MOP367 million, versus MOP665 million a year earlier.
The number of live-dealer gaming tables in the Macau market stood at 5,533 in the first quarter this year, compared with 6,739 registered at the end of the preceding, fourth quarter.
The number of slot machines in the Macau market stood at 7,216 in the first quarter, compared to the 17,009 recorded as of December 31.
Since the reopening of the market on February 20, Macau casinos have been operating with limited capacity due to social distancing policies on gaming floors. These include a limit on the number of gaming tables allowed to operate and a restriction on the number of available seats at each table, as well as reduced availability regarding slot machines.
Macau’s gaming sector is likely to report “almost break-even” levels of earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation for the first quarter, despite the disruption wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic, suggested banking group Morgan Stanley in a Sunday note.
Instinet LLC, the research arm of Nomura, said in a Monday note that it expected a recovery in Macau casino GGR “to begin in June”.
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"We have estimated that on average, the [daily] visitor arrivals for this year’s Chinese New Year break could turn out to be a bit weaker than for the Christmas holiday period"
Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes
Director of the Macao Government Tourism Office