Gaming Analysts lower expectations ahead of Golden Week

Brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd. is not optimistic over the performance of casinos during the upcoming Chinese holiday season, expecting that visitors to Macau will have a lower spend per capita than in 2018.

Analysts have lowered their expectations for the city’s business performance during the upcoming October 1 Golden Week, predicting that casino managements’ spending on customer incentives “will be high during the period, but likely go to an average lower-spend customer than in 2018.”

“While hotel bookings are solid, we expect the quality of the customers will be lower [i.e., lower spend per head] this year,” the firm wrote Monday.

“Consequently, higher-
end play will likely remain tepid during Golden Week and during the whole of October,” analysts Vitaly Umansky, Eunice Lee and Kelsey Zhu noted.

Analysts at JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) expect to see a stronger performance starting from the second week of October. “We’ll get some color around October 7 to 8,” analysts DS Kim, Jeremy An and Derek Choi said.

“We estimate mass GGR has edged down by mid- to high-single-digit [percent] month-on-month for the month to date, although year-on-year growth appears strong [in the] mid-teens [thanks to easy comparisons from Super Typhoon [Mangkhut] last year,” read the statement from the analysts.

For the team, the social unrest in Hong Kong may still affect the city’s mass market business.

The tourism bureau is expecting a 15% year-on-year increase in visitor numbers during the Chinese holiday.

Last year, Macau welcomed over 890,000 visitors during the October 1 Golden Week, registering a year-on-year rise of 7.2%.

The surge was due to a rise in the number of visitors from mainland China, which increased 14%, while international visitors from other markets totaled 45,000, down by 33.6%. LV

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