New low

Gaming revenue slumps in April, lowest in 18 months

The Macau SAR’s gross gaming revenue dropped steeply to MOP2.68 billion in April, the lowest figure recorded since September 2020 as the city continues to endure stricter border restrictions whenever fresh outbreaks arise in neighboring regions.

Data from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau shows that last month’s revenue is 68.1% lower year-on-year and 27.1% lower than in March.

April’s revenue only equates to about 11% of pre-pandemic figures for the same month. 

The results were slightly lower than the median analyst estimate of a fall of 66.5% year-on-year. In March, the city had already reported a 56% drop in gaming revenue.

Last month, brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein’s Vitaly Umansky said that the figure for April could drop if “further tightening occurs,” noting that “April’s GGR – and potentially May – is likely to continue a recent trend of weakness.”

Border restrictions and Covid-19 cases in the mainland are factors contributing to the negative forecast, as Macau had earlier imposed stricter border policy for travelers from Guangdong, requiring nucleic acid tests with a validity of only 24 hours. Later in April, the SAR again relaxed the policy to 72 hours, which boosted daily gaming averages in the last week of the month.

However, while holidays in China such as the Golden Weeks in May and October have traditionally been peak seasons for the city, China’s zero-Covid strategy, which requires lockdowns in districts with high Covid-19 cases such as Shanghai and Beijing, are keeping many visitors at home.

Therefore, recovery still chiefly depends on the development of China’s outbreaks and lockdown measures.

The city’s accumulated revenue in the first four months of this year reached MOP20.452 billion, down 36.2 percent year-on-year.

Recently, a forecast from Fitch Ratings stated that Macau’s economy would only expand by 19% in 2022, based on the assumption that gaming revenue would recover to about 44% of its pre-pandemic levels, far lower than the initial expectation in relation to overall economic expansion of 36%.

The International Monetary Fund expects that economic growth will only accelerate to 23% in 2023 before gradually converging upon its long-term potential of around 3.5% over the medium term – boosted by the increasing investment linked to the issuing of new gaming concessions and the further integration of the Guangdong-
Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA).


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