HK protests begin to hit Macau revenue: Bernstein

Macau casino floor
Macau casino floor

The street protests that have been rocking Hong Kong for the past nine weeks are beginning to have an impact on gross gambling revenue in Macau, Bernstein analysts wrote in a note.

The firm said its channel checks show GGR for the first four days of August was MOP3 billion ($372.8 million), with an average daily rate of MOP750 million. That’s down 5 percent from July and down 12 percent from the same period last year.

Typhoon Wipha, which recently swept through Macau also had an impact by disrupting transportation. 

“Additionally, we are beginning to see a negative impact from the protests in Hong Kong which is causing some transport disruption (on weekends largely so far) and beginning to create a headwind to China visitation into HK (and onward visitation into Macau),” the note read.

It added that the negativity surrounding the biggest junket player, Suncity Group, is also putting pressure on the VIP market as “agents withdraw some funds and delay visiting Macau.”

China’s state-owned media in July published an article accusing Suncity of illegal online gambling and proxy betting. The group has vehemently denied the allegations. In addition, its name has been caught up in a scandal in Australia after an investigative news report about Crown Resorts and links to organised crime.

For August, Bernstein said it has cut its GGR estimate to a range of -2 to -4 percent from a gain of 6 percent previously. 

“Delivering positive growth in August would need to rely on outsized VIP volumes and higher hold – something not in our forecast at this time.”