Macau’s gross gaming revenues appear to be trending upwards through the first two weeks of March, with analysts pointing to further easing of travel restrictions and improving sentiment in China since the comparatively subdued Chinese New Year holiday.
According to JP Morgan’s DS Kim and Derek Choi, GGR between 1 and 14 March 2021 reached an estimated MOP$3.7 billion (US$463 million) at MOP$264 million (US$33.0 million) per day – improved from MOP$260 million per day during January and February.
It also implies daily GGR of MOP$271 million (US$33.9 million) over the past week, up from MOP$257 million (US$32.1 million) in the first week of March and MOP$220 million (US$27.5 million) during the last week of February.
“This probably reflects gradually improving travel sentiments in China, as well as a comeback of local (Macanese) gaming demand after a recent easing of COVID-testing rules,” said Kim and Choi.
Bernstein’s Vitaly Umansky, Kelsey Zhu and Louis Li said daily VIP volumes were estimated to have risen by 7% to 8% month-on-month, albeit with a lower win rate, while mass had risen by between 4% and 6%.
However, while they tip GGR to continue slowly improving through March and April, “without a major change to NAT (nucleic acid testing), IVS or group visa issuance changes and the opening of Hong Kong, GGR and visitation will remain depressed. We expect a more robust GGR uplift to begin this summer as travel impediments are removed and visitation increases.”
JP Morgan is slightly more upbeat, stating, “We expect GGR to keep improving sequentially starting March (MOP$260 million to MOP$270 million per day) into May (MOP$350 million to MOP$370 million per day) and frankly not much has to happen for this, as it was already happening well into the year-end prior to new travel curbs.
“The pace of recovery should step up sharply from the next big holiday (May Golden Week) in our view, and further accelerate into 2H with more re-opening and potential travel easing.”