Macau’s gross gaming revenue fell 8% week-on-week in the seven days from 10 to 16 January – the second successive week of falls as COVID-19 outbreaks across parts of mainland China result in tightened border policies.
According to brokerage Bernstein’s weekly channel checks, GGR for the past seven days reached MOP$244 million (US$30.5 million) per day, down from MOP$266 million (US$33.2 million) over the first nine days of the month.
The decline is despite stronger visitation through the first 12 days of the month and a 2% increase in daily arrivals and departures to 64,500 from 6 to 12 January.
“However, there was 40% decline of Zhuhai-Macau visitation the day after the COVID test requirement (for land border) was tightened to 48 hours (on 14 January), and further decline is likely after the requirement tightened to 24 hours since 16 January,” said Bernstein analyst Vitaly Umansky.
Visitation from 1 to 12 January had been 20% higher than the December 2021 average and 11% higher than previous peak in May 2021 “until the COVID outbreaks began to intensify in China,” Umansky said.
“China’s COVID outbreaks have spread into Guangdong province, with cases in Zhuhai, Shenzhen, Zhongshan and Meizhou. Three other provinces, Henan, Tianjin, and Shaanxi continue to experience outbreaks, and Beijing and Shanghai also reported local cases last week.”
Month to date, daily GGR of MOP$256 million (US$31.9 million) is flat with December but still 68% lower than January 2019 – before the COVID-19 pandemic. The situation has been further burdened by the collapse of the junket business, with VIP GGR down 40% to 50% versus December. Mass GGR is estimated to be “high single digits %” better than December.
Bernstein is forecasting January GGR to finish around 20% lower than December’s total of MOP$7.96 billion (US$991.4 million), “factoring in the recent travel restrictions caused by shortened COVID testing requirement and other travel impediments.”