Macau gaming figures fall by 47 per cent in August

by Mia Chapman Last Updated
Coronavirus outbreak shuts Macau down but casinos remain open

The latest Macau gaming figures have revealed a steep month-on-month drop in revenue.

GGR Asia reports that Macau’s casino gross gaming revenue fell by 47.4 per cent in August to US$554.5 million.

Judged year-on-year, August gross gaming revenue was up 234 per cent on August 2020, according to data issued by the city’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.

Investment analysts had suggested that August GGR was negatively impacted by tighter counter measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Macau, coinciding with detection among four locals of the more infectious Delta-variant COVID-19.

COVID-19 impacts still being felt

The measures also involved, during the first three weeks of August, a tightening of COVID-19 test rules for inbound travellers by land, from neighbouring Guangdong province, the largest-single feeder market currently for Macau’s tourists.

The tighter rules coincided in the same period with a decline in daily visitor arrivals from the mainland.

Only mainland China has currently a travel bubble with Macau that is largely quarantine-free.

The test validity period for inbound travellers by land via Guangdong was eased to seven days, from August 25.

Aggregator casino GGR in the first eight months of 2021 was 70.1 per cent higher than what was achieved in the prior-year period.

Commenting on Macau’s GGR for August, JP Morgan Securities Ltd stated the lacklustre performance “shouldn’t surprise anyone given well-documented travel restrictions and effective border closure until late August.”

The brokerage added the result did not have “any meaningful read on forward estimates and investor sentiment” regarding Macau’s gaming market.

“Perhaps more importantly, this implies GGR run-rate improved in the last week of August, already rebounding back to June’s levels,” analysts DS Kim, Amanda Cheng and Livy Lyu said.

“While one week doesn’t make a trend, a near-instant recovery post border normalisation bodes well for the upcoming high season in the fourth quarter, including the October Golden Week,” they added.

The latter was a reference to a holiday period encompassing China’s National Day on October 1.

This is traditionally a peak season for Macau’s tourism and casino industries as hundreds of thousands of mainland Chinese tourists take advantage of the week long break to visit the city.

China’s State Council declared October 1 to 7 as this year’s National Day holiday period in mainland China.

Macau revenues rose in July

Gross gaming revenue rose to about US$1.06 billion in July.

Judged year-on-year, this figure was a massive 528.1 per cent increase compared to last July, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau said.

GGR in June had been impacted by tighter countermeasures to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Macau, coinciding with new cases in neighbouring Guangdong province, the largest single feeder market currently for Macau’s tourists.

The upped restrictions led to a decline in June in inbound travel to Macau from mainland China.

The measures were gradually eased between the second half of June and early July.

Travel restrictions between Macau and mainland China have increased in late July due to fresh COVID-19 infections on the mainland.

With effect from the stroke of midnight on July 31, people intending to enter Macau on a direct flight from mainland China must hold a nucleic acid test certificate issued within 48 hours proving they are negative for COVID-19 infection.

For the first seven months of 2021 combined, Macau has recorded $7.18 billion in gross gaming revenue, a 63.9 per cent increase over the same period in 2020.

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