Asia’s leading VIP gaming operator, Suncity Group, has been forced to close some of its VIP offerings in Macau, Korea and Australia due to soft market conditions brought about by the global COVID-19 pandemic, with Macau rolling volume back to just 20% of previous levels.
The update forms part of a research report from investment bank Goldman Sachs published Monday and following a corporate day held last week at which it invited Suncity Group, its subsidiary Summit Ascent Holdings, NagaCorp and Korea’s Paradise Co to take part.
According to analysts Simon Cheung, Alpha Wang and Carrie Jiang, Suncity commented that the pace of VIP recovery Asia-wide has been slower than expected, and “in response to the soft market conditions, it has decided to close VIP rooms in Australia, Korea and selective in Macau,” including at The Parisian Macao. Suncity Group has informed IAG that it will reopen Macau VIP rooms as demand returns.
It added that VIP GGR in Macau had only recovered to around 20% of pre-COVID-19 levels in December, lagging behind the overall GGR recovery pace of -66% year-on-year for the market.
“Pre-booking for the Chinese New Year holiday by its VIP customers are also relatively light,” the report said. “Overall, [Suncity] group is taking the view that the Asia VIP gaming market will take time and only recover gradually.”
Suncity noted that most of its players find it troublesome to return to Macau due to COVID-19 testing requirements and a more complicated IVS visa process than usual given self-service kiosks are yet to be reinstated, according to Goldman Sachs, although none of Suncity’s Asian IR expansion plans have changed.