China travel impediments see Macau GGR plummet 37% over past week

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The Gongbei border between Macau and Zhuhai.

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Travel restrictions in place across mainland China following a recent COVID-19 outbreak have seen Macaus gross gaming revenues fall by 37% in the seven days from 9 to 15 August.

According to brokerage Bernstein, daily GGR plummeted from an average of MOP$125 million (US$16 million) from 1 to 8 August to just MOP$78 million (US$10 million) over the past seven days the lowest daily rate since September 2020.

Although Macau is already reopening after a mass-testing blitz of all residents found no further cases of COVID-19, visitation from 6 to 12 August was 78% lower than in July, slightly improving in the days since to 50% of Julys average.

Estimated GGR for the first 15 days of August combined is 87% lower than August 2019 and 62% below July 2021 at MOP$1.55 billion (US$193 million)

Travel ability and demand worsened over the past week due to the COVID contagion, said Bernstein analysts Vitaly Umansky, Louis Li and Kelsey Zhu in a Monday note.

Macau now has 14-day mandatory quarantine or health management on travelers from districts in more than 30 cities of 11 provinces in China (but seven cities of four provinces were removed from the list over the past week). The current COVID situation in China will last at least a month with disrupted travel to Macau.

The analysts estimate August GGR to come in at least 80% below August 2019 and 50% below July 2021 levels, with September also likely to remain soft.