Macau’s gaming operators will start to recover from the dramatic impact of COVID-19 on their business from June but won’t return to near-2019 numbers until 2022 according to Instinet, the independent equity trading arm of Nomura Group.
In a research note, research analysts Harry Curtis, Daniel Adam and Brian Dobson commented that a post-COVID recovery among the global casino, cruise and hotels sectors would occur first in Macau, with their conversations with operators pointing to a likely “soft” opening of Macau’s borders with China from May. GGR would then start to recover from June.
Assuming Guangdong Province removes the 14-day quarantine on travel between Macau and China that has further crippled Macau’s gaming and tourism industries over the past fortnight, and that China resumes its Individual Visit Scheme for at least some provinces, Instinet projects a 2Q20 GGR decline of around 80% year-on-year, improving to a 65% decline in 3Q20 and 60% in 4Q20.
GGR would likely return to 60% of 2019 levels in 2021 and to 90% by 2022, the research note suggests.
“Last week, Macau’s Finance Secretary Lei commented that the government envisioned ‘normalcy’ at the borders soon, which we think may be right in 6 to 12 months, but it is too optimistic for 2020,” it says.
“The HK and Guangdong border crossing closings by Beijing two weeks ago, while a setback for GGR (which was gaining traction in March), is one road sign that indicates Beijing is taking the risk of a second wave of infection seriously.
“Also, when the IVS system is restarted, it will be into a safe and controlled environment. There will likely be a recovery in 2020, but slow.”
Instinet added that, “VIP and premium mass are probably the first to recover since there are likely to be restrictions on visitation growth, which will limit mass.”