Singapore’s casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) could grow by 16 percent year-on-year in 2024, reaching close to US$5.94 billion. That is according to a note from China International Capital Corporation (CICC) Hong Kong Securities Ltd.
The brokerage said such year-on-year growth would be driven by an estimated 10-percent annual increase in VIP GGR, 17-percent annual rise in mass GGR, and a 23-percent surge in slot-machine GGR.
CICC stated in its note, issued last week, it estimated overall GGR in Singapore had expanded by 56 percent year-on-year in 2023, to US$5.11 billion. According to the brokerage, the 2023 tally had already surpassed by 13 percent the figure recorded in 2019, prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Analysts Goh Shengyong, Wang Jiayu and Hou Liwei mentioned a number of factors for expected VIP GGR performance in 2024. They included a “larger premium customer base and improving average spending power from growing high-net-worth individuals in Singapore,” and also a possible “relaxation of credit lending policies towards VIP patrons with solid credit track records” by Singapore’s two casino operators.
The CICC team stated they estimated that mass GGR in the city-state had already recovered last year to 121 percent of the 2019 level. Further increase in 2024 was likely to be driven by “potential increased inbound travellers from China and higher consuming power among the intra-region of ASEAN.” The latter was a reference to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a political and economic group of 10 states in Southeast Asia.
The brokerage discussed in particular the impact of Singapore resuming 30-day visa-free entry for Chinese passport holders, and China doing the same for Singaporeans. The arrangement is due to begin on February 9, the eve of Chinese New Year.
“We believe this may accelerate the recovery of outbound travel for Chinese tourists,” the CICC analysts wrote, noting that visitor arrivals to Singapore from China were still lagging at a “42-percent recovery rate” compared to 2019 level.
“With visa-free policy release and international flight capacity recovering, we expect Chinese tourists (who contributed above 30-percent of Singapore GGR pre-pandemic) could chase up the gap,” stated the brokerage.
CICC forecast that Marina Bay Sands, run by a unit of Las Vegas Sands Corp, and half of Singapore’s casino duopoly, would post full-year 2024 earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of approximately US$2.15 billion. That would represent a year-on-year growth rate of about 20 percent.
In the opposite direction, Resorts World Sentosa, operated by a unit of Genting Singapore Ltd, was expected to see annual EBITDA decline by about 14 percent, to US$784 million, despite a forecast GGR increase of 15 percent. CICC did not provide details in that note on why it expected EBITDA at Resorts World Sentosa to decline.
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