Analysts remain optimistic on the recovery of the gaming sector in 2023, despite forecasting that the industry will only recover to pre-pandemic levels in 2025.
However, estimates for the VIP gaming segment are only set to recover to 46% of 2019 levels as this segment “fades away.”
In an updated report provided by brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein, analysts noted that the gross gaming revenue (GGR) will only reach 31% of 2019 levels this year, which stood at MOP292.5 billion.
This means that the city will only record some MOP91 billion in gaming revenues, about MOP40 billion less than the government’s goal of MOP130 billion.
The gradual growth in revenues will reach 59% in 2022, 87% in 2021, 96% by 2024 and 106% by 2025.
The adjusted estimates came after the recent Covid-19 outbreak in the city caused stricter border control measures in Macau and in the neighboring region.
The new cases reported at the end of September and subsequently on October 4 and 5 caused travelers’ plans to fall through.
Since September 24, the SAR has reported 10 Covid-19 cases. Since September 26, travelers who enter neighboring Macau from the mainland city of Zhuhai via the land border have been required to undergo 14 days of quarantine.
The city has then recorded a downturn in its tourist arrival numbers during the Golden Week due to these restrictions – an event that is usually accompanied by high daily tourist arrivals to the city.
Official figures showed that only 8,159 tourists arrived during the holiday, with average daily tourist arrivals standing at 1,166, a stunning decline of 94% compared to last year.
“Golden Week has been completely ruined due to the border closures, and we forecast October GGR to be down nearly 80% vs. 2019, but this is likely to be even worse if the border control measures with Zhuhai/China stay longer than expected,” the brokerage noted in the report.
“At this point, we expect [to see] GGR improvement in November/December, but do not expect opening up of Hong Kong or easing China visas until next spring and summer.”
With no updates yet on when Zhuhai will reopen border with Macau, analysts say that “if no new cases found, the maximum 14-day length of border closure could be extended until October 23, but could open sooner.”
THIRD GAMING CONSULTATION CANCELED
The third public consultation on gaming that was to be held today has been canceled due to Typhoon Kompasu.
The past two consultations were also canceled due to pandemic restrictions.
The consultation will be rescheduled to another date and time “as soon as possible,” according to a statement issued by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
The Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong, had previously announced that there are no plans to extend the consultation process because members of the public are still able to provide their opinions in writing.
The 45-day public consultation will last until October 29.