Macaus recovery from its latest COVID-19 setback appears to be underway with gross gaming revenue said to be 55% higher in the week from 16 to 22 August than during the seven days prior.
According to brokerage Bernsteins weekly channel checks, average daily GGR increased from MOP$78 million to MOP$120 million (US$10 million to US$15 million) during the most recent week, aided by the gradual relaxation of travel restrictions across mainland China. Visitation from 14 to 18 August was also up 168% on the week from 6 to 12 August although still down 42% from Julys daily average.
COVID-19 cases in the mainland have passed 1,200 since an outbreak was first detected in Nanjing on 20 June but have since plummeted, with no new local cases reported nationwide on Monday.
Bernsteins Vitaly Umansky, Louis Li and Kelsey Zhu said that although revenue had increased substantially over the past week, GGR figures were still restrained with average daily rate of MOP$109 million (US$13.5 million) down 60% compared versus Julys average of MOP$272 million (US$34 million) and 86% versus the August 2019 average of MOP$783 million (US$97.5 million).
The current COVID situation in China may still last a few more weeks well into September, with disrupted travel to Macau, they wrote. We expect the situation to Macau to start getting back to April/May levels in October.
Bernstein is estimating at least a 50% month-on-month decline in GGR, representing a mid-80 percentage point decline versus August 2019.
We expect GGR improvement beginning in the fourth quarter, but more significant travel impediment removals are not likely until next year, the brokerage added.