Typhoon Mangkhut Won’t Do Long-Term Damage to Macau Revenues, But Analysts Predict Impacted GGR

Posted on: September 28, 2018, 10:00h. 

Last updated on: September 28, 2018, 08:04h.

Typhoon Mangkhut may have forced an emergency shutdown of Macau’s casinos for the first time ever, but it won’t be enough to stop the continued growth of revenues in the Chinese gaming enclave.

Typhoon Mangkhut Macau revenues
While Typhoon Mangkhut had a devastating impact in the Philippines and other areas, there was no long term damage sustained in Macau. (Image: Reuters/Twitter/@alexhofford)

A report from GGRAsia quoted analysts from two different brokerages as forecasting continued growth for casinos in the territory, though that growth is expected to be a bit slower than it would have been without the devastating storm.

Macau Suffered ‘Immaterial’ Damage During Storm

According to a note issued on Monday, Sanford C. Bernstein said that it expected September gross gaming revenue (GGR) for Macau casinos should come in at between MOP 21.9 billion and MOP 22.3 billion ($2.72 billion to $2.77 billion), which would be a three to four percent increase over last year.

Macau casinos had been shut down by Typhoon Mangkhut for 33 hours,” the Bernstein analysts wrote in their note. “The damage from the typhoon to casino properties was immaterial, but GGR was impacted as a result of the weather, casino closures and transport disruption.”

That’s a somewhat better outlook than Bernstein expected in the immediate aftermath of the typhoon. At the time, analysts for the brokerage expected growth of zero to three percent for the industry. On the other hand, it is still well short of the eight to 11 percent growth they had forecasted heading into the month.

Mangkhut caused operations to be suspended at all Macau casinos as of 11 pm on Saturday, Sept. 15. Macau was spared the worst of the storm, as the super typhoon never passed directly over the territory. While Macau officials reported that 17 people had been injured, no deaths were immediately attributed to the typhoon. 127 people were killed by Mangkhut in the Philippines, where more than 100 people are still missing.

By the morning of Monday, Sept. 17, casinos were able to reopen in Macau. And with little in the way of serious damage to the city, it appears as though the gaming industry has avoided any long-term issues stemming from the typhoon.

Long-Term Forecasts Remain Strong

Other brokerages have similarly lessened their expectations for September, while still expecting growth to continue. Japanese brokerage firm Nomura is forecasting about a 10 percent increase in GGR for the territory’s casinos, down from the 15 percent growth they were expecting before the tycoon.

In a note by Nomura’s research arm, known as Instinet, analysts said that their checks found that volume had mostly recovered since the typhoon, thanks in part to the mid-autumn festival which helped boost demand late in the month.

There had been worries from some forecasters that the typhoon could combine with other factors to cause a serious slowdown in Macau’s growth. Between the storm and a looming trade war between the United States and China, there were concerns that yearly GGR growth could slow significantly, with Nomura reducing their projections in July based solely on the tariffs imposed by the two economic giants.

But according to Bernstein, strong mass market growth should help Macau continue to thrive for the foreseeable future.

“We continue to view the industry as a secular growth story driven by relatively stronger mass growth in the long run,” analysts wrote.