Analysts track Macau’s slow and steady casino recovery
More people are visiting Macau but they aren’t spending as much in the city’s casinos, according to the latest note from Bernstein Research.
Asia Gaming Brief reports that the average daily revenue from April 19 to 25 was lower than the previous week, as the mass market continues to outperform VIP segments.
In terms of year-on-year comparisons, gross gaming revenue for the week was down 64 per cent from pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
However, revenue was up nine per cent from March, 2021.
The flat gross gaming revenue numbers come despite a 24 per cent increase in visitation in the second half of April.
“The coming May 1 holiday period will be an important test for Macau visitation and GGR as expectations for visitation are reasonably high,” the firm noted.
“The key question will be average spend as the high rollers may stay away from Macau during the holiday period.”
China has extended the May 1 holding this year to include the first five days of the month and both tourism officials and operators have expressed confidence of a significant uptick in activity during this period.
However, stringent testing requirements to visit Macau remain in place and China has still not resumed issuance of individual visit scheme visas through e-kiosks, which greatly simplifies the process for travellers.
Neither has it resumed group travel visas.
Also still missing from the Macau recovery puzzle is the opening of borders with Hong Kong.
Although the situation has improved in the latter city, Macau has said it won’t allow travel until Hong Kong goes 14 days without a case of local infection.
Hong Kong accounts for about 15 per cent of Macau’s gross gaming revenue.
For April as a whole, Bernstein expects GGR to be down 64 percent from 2019 and up four per cent from March.
The analysts are still confident of a much stronger recovery in Macau gross gaming revenue in the second half of 2021.
Bernstein expects Macau gross gaming revenue to return to about 64 per cent of its pre-pandemic levels this year, with the mass market at about 75 per cent and VIP at less than half of its prior amount.
This is in line with most analysts’ expectations.