Macau’s gaming revenue rose less than analysts expected in April, the third straight month that the casino business disappointed as the gambling hub awaits the reopening of global travel.
Gross gaming revenue rose 1,014% in April to 8.4 billion patacas ($1.1 billion), according to data released today (Saturday) by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. That trailed the median analyst estimate for a 1,054% jump.
Revenue increased 1% from the previous month, and is down 65% from April 2019, before the pandemic hit.
The latest jump compares with a low level a year earlier when Beijing ramped up travel curbs to halt the virus. Last April, amid the pandemic’s throes, gaming revenue sank a record 97% to less than $100 million.
Macau is still trying to lure mainland gamblers who’ve been discouraged by more procedures to obtain visas – and virus tests required to cross the border.
Also, a travel bubble with Hong Kong is in the works, following talks recently held between the SARs’ leaders in Bohao, Hainan.
On Friday, Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng admitted the possibility but “only after Hong Kong goes at least 14 consecutive days without Covid-19 infections,” talks would be initiated for establishing a travel corridor.
Ho Iat Seng’s statement comes two days after Carrie Lam revealed that the two leaders of China’s semi-autonomous regions were negotiating a travel corridor between the two regions – without quarantine.
Daily visitor arrivals in Macau continued to show an upward trend in April, rising to the highest level since the start of the pandemic, according to the Macau Government Tourism Office. The resumption of domestic travel in mainland China may further boost the number of visitors to Macau.
May’s Golden Week holiday is expected to increase revenue for gaming operators, with Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd. and MGM China Holdings Ltd. both predicting on earnings calls that they would have strong holiday performances.
On Chinese travel portal Qunar.com, the number of bookings for Macau hotel rooms for the holiday is up 17% from pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Scheduled flight routes to Macau from the mainland increased 60% in April from late March, its data showed.
The Bloomberg Intelligence index of Macau casino operators fell 3.4% in April. The benchmark Hang Seng Index gained 1.2% in the same period.