Macau gaming demand is “recovering comfortably”, weekly GGR shows improvement

Macau’s casino industry posted sequential improvement in gross gaming revenue for the period April 12 to 18 inclusive, says JP Morgan.

JP Morgan Securities estimated in a Monday note that last week’s run-rate in was a “strong” MOP300 million a day. The institution said it was “one of the highest non-holiday readings post Covid-19, although partly helped by favourable VIP luck.”

Consumer demand for Macau gaming is “recovering comfortably,” wrote JP Morgan analysts DS Kim, Derek Choi and Livy Lyu. They estimated casino GGR in Macau for the first 18 days of April at MOP5.5 billion, or MOP280 million a day.

Also in the memo, brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein said the GGR improvement seen in the prior week was “mainly due to better mass consumer traffic over the weekend and continued high VIP hold.”

“While visitation was softer in the first half of last week, visitor arrivals reached a 15 month high of 34,252 on 16 April,” said analysts Vitaly Umansky, Kelsey Zhu and Louis Li.

Macau has recently seen a steady uptick in the number of visitor arrivals, the Macao Government Tourism Office said in a Sunday release. The average daily volume was 27,404 visitor arrivals for the seven days from April 9 to April 15 inclusive. The April 16 tally was the highest daily count since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

In its note, JP Morgan said that month-to-date GGR has recovered to just above 35% of pre- Covid-19 levels, “with mass and VIP volumes at about 40% to 45% and 20%, respectively, compared to April 2019”.

“We estimate VIP luck was high at 3.7% plus win rate (versus theoretical 2.9% to 3%, but VIP doesn’t really move the needle for GGR anymore,” stated the JP Morgan team.

Sanford Bernstein forecast Macau’s April GGR to be down “in the low 60s of percent” compared to the same month in 2019. “Macau should continue to experience headwinds during first-half 2021, but we see strong GGR improvement beginning in second half as Covid-19-related travel constraints begin to fall away,” said the analysts.


Editing by Rachel Hu