Macau’s gross gambling revenue plunged 94.5 percent in August, the fifth straight month of a more than 90 percent decline, even though visitation has begun to improve.
According to figures from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, GGR was just MOP1.33 billion ($166.7 million), down from MOP24.26 billion a year earlier. For the year to date, GGR is down 81.6 percent.
Morgan Stanley says the question as to why GGR is still down so heavily despite visitation having increased since the borders began opening is a key investor talking point.
In a podcast, Morgan Stanley Research Managing Director Praveen Choudhary explains that there are currently about 10,000 visitors a day to Macau, up from just 500 at the height of the crisis.
However, the big gamblers tend to stay overnight and hotel occupancy is still low, at about 7 percent in July, which was the same as the past four months. In March, when border restrictions were less rigid that figure was 17 percent.
In a recent survey, the firms found a few key casinos are running at 30 to 40 percent occupancy in their hotels and the Golden Week holiday in October will likely push that much higher.
Morgan Stanley also noted that gaming spending per visitor is returning to more normal levels. Pre-pandemic that figure stood at $1,300 per visitor, but as visitor numbers dropped that spiked to $15,000 as non gamblers stopped visiting the territory.
In August, the figure returned to about $1,100, which is closer to the normal ratio.
“Here onwards we think visitation and GGR will move together,” he said.