The ongoing protests in Hong Kong and uncertainty surrounding the VIP sector following Australian news reports over junket links have analysts predicting gross gaming revenue to fall by up to 6% year-on-year.
The amended estimates, down from earlier predictions of +2% growth, come after hundreds of flights in and out of Hong Kong International Airport were cancelled on Monday due to protestors flooding into the arrivals hall.
Airport officials posted an update on the HKIA website shortly before 5pm local time stating, “Operations at Hong Kong International Airport have been seriously disrupted, all flights have been cancelled. All passengers are advised to leave the terminal buildings as soon as possible. Affected passengers please contact their respective airlines for flight arrangement.”
Macau’s Marina and Water Bureau also announced the cancellation of Monday night’s scheduled ferry from the Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal to HKIA as a result of the protests.
Pointing to an estimated average daily rate of MOP$790 million through the first 11 days of August, Bernstein analysts Vitaly Umansky, Eunice Lee and Kelsey Zhu said, “We are beginning to see a negative impact from the protests in Hong Kong which is causing some transport disruption and beginning to create a headwind to China visitation into Hong Kong (and onward visitation into Macau).
“Further, the negativity surrounding Suncity continues to pressure junket VIP as agents withdraw some funds and delay visiting Macau. Overall negativity surrounding the geopolitical and macro situation is having a negative impact on GGR.”
JP Morgan’s DS Kim, Jeremy An and Chrstine Wang similarly refer to “drag from Hong Kong protests and junket related noise” for their concerns, dropping August GGR estimates to a year-on-year decline of between 4% and 6%.
Bernstein is estimating a decline of between 2% and 4%.