The potential loosening of visa constraints placed upon those looking to enter Macau will largely determine any potential growth in gross gaming revenue through January, according to brokerage Sanford C Bernstein.
Visa controls were tightened through November and December 2019 in the lead-up to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit as part of the Macau SAR’s 20thanniversary celebrations – the subsequent slowdown in visitation contributing to a 13.7% year-on-year decline in GGR in December.
Bernstein analysts are estimating Macau’s GGR to grow by anywhere between +2% and -1% in January but in a Monday note said the final result would largely be determined by the level of visa restrictions in force throughout the month.
“One key driver of the January result will be how the visa constraints that were in place in November and December are being loosened,” said analysts Vitaly Umansky, Eunice Lee and Kelsey Zhu.
“If we see continued tight visa controls in place, the GGR impact will be more negative than we currently forecast.”
The analysts said that channel checks over the first five days of January 2020 suggest Macau’s GGR is running 2% higher than the same period last year at around MOP$820 million per day, however the fact that Chinese New Year takes place on 25 January this year compared with 5 February in 2019 makes the monthly comparison less meaningful.