Gaming | Casino revenues trend upward as border restrictions eased

Macau’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) doubled from October 18 to 24, in line with the surge in tourist arrivals as border restrictions were eased following over a week of no new Covid-19 cases in the city.
Brokerage firm Sanford C. Bernstein estimated a daily GGR of MOP157 million, raising hopes for gaming operators.
The week prior, when strict border measures were implemented in the face of a new series of Covid-19 outbreaks starting in the last week of September, the city recorded a total GGR of just MOP79 million.
During that week, arrivals from Macau to Zhuhai were required to undergo quarantine, discouraging tourists from visiting the city. The measure was dropped on October 19 and Macau has recorded a steady rebound in visitor arrivals which have been trending upward for four consecutive days, with 25,252 visitor arrivals on Friday.
This figure was the highest daily number of arrivals recorded since the city tightened its Covid-19 measures on September 25.
“We forecast October GGR to be down over 80% [this month] vs October 2019 and expect GGR improvement (which has just begun) to continue in November-December, but more significant travel impediment removals are not likely until next year,” said analysts Vitaly Umansky, Louis Li and Kelsey Zhu.
“Longer term, IVS eVisa and group visa restart and Hong Kong travel resumption will be necessary to drive GGR upwards,” the brokerage added.
Bernstein said that revenue for the first 24 days of the month plunged to MOP2.9 billion, down 86% compared with October 2019.
Previously, Bernstein had expressed optimism toward 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.”
The analysts noted that gross gaming revenue 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.
Current GGR expectation for this year are set to be revised again, given the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the analysts forecast that gradual growth in revenue will reach 59% in 2022, 87% in 2021, 96% by 2024 and 106% by 2025.

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