Macau Casino Gross Gaming Revenue Down 95 Percent in August, Win Totals $166M

Posted on: September 1, 2020, 09:07h. 

Last updated on: September 1, 2020, 11:24h.

The six licensed casino operators in Macau reported gross gaming revenue (GGR) of MOP1.33 billion ($166.6 million) last month, which was a 94.5 percent year-over-year drop.

Macau casino gaming revenue
Macau remains rather desolate, and that’s continuing to damper casino revenues. (Image: Reuters)

August marked the fifth consecutive month where Macau casinos experienced at least a 90 percent year-over-year decline. It’s also the 11th straight month of GGR loss.

Through eight months of 2020, GGR stands at $4.5 billion — down 81.6 percent. At this time last year, Macau casinos had won more than $24.8 billion.

Macau continues to struggle to welcome back gamblers and high rollers in the wake of COVID-19. Though the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) recently eased entry restrictions, visitor numbers remain low.

US travelers represent a very small percentage of Macau’s annual traffic. But it’s one of the few areas in Asia the US State Department has a “Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions” travel advisory on. Macau has been able to largely keep the coronavirus out of its protected enclave, the region only reporting 46 cases and no deaths, since the pandemic hit the world.

Disappointing Performance

The Individual Visit Scheme (IVS), which allows residents on mainland China to visit Macau on an individual basis, resumed late last month for those in the Guangdong province and Zhuhai. The IVS scheme was reinstituted effective August 26.

In 2019, nearly half of all visitors to Macau arrived from Guangdong. Of those arrivals, 72 percent were on IVS permits. The only other way mainlanders can enter the enclave is with business visas, or while on a group tour.

Stocks surged on the IVS restart news, but there was no rush of incoming visitors. Bernstein analysts said the entry easing had little impact on GGR in the final days of August, the research firm forecasting a 94 percent year-over-year decline in August casino win, a prediction that was nearly spot-on.

JP Morgan Securities Asia Pacific analysts DS Kim, Derek Choi, and Jeremy An said in a note today that Macau’s daily run-rate of roughly $5.4 million in casino win was the same as July’s. Calling it “disappointing,” the JP Morgan gaming observers credit a shrinkage in VIP play as the likely culprit.

VIP demand also seems to have contracted in recent weeks, as some junkets/agents/players kept a low profile amidst stepped-up scrutiny on capital control and overseas gambling,” the analysts said.

Still, there is some reason for optimism. Macau is the only region outside of the mainland in which Guangdong residents can come and go without a mandatory 14-day quarantine. That is set to extend to the rest of mainland China on September 23.

Stocks React

Though August didn’t provide the GGR boost many had hoped, investors didn’t flee from holding their Macau casino positions.

US-based operators doing business in Macau include Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts, and Wynn Resorts. As of midday on September 1, Sands was down 1.2 percent, MGM up one percent, and Wynn down less than one percent.

The Hong Kong-listed Macau casino operators had mixed results. Melco Resorts was down 2.2 percent, Galaxy Entertainment up one percent, and SJM Holdings was the day’s big winner, its shares up five percent.