Macau GGR return

Macau’s monthly gross gambling revenue was up 25 percent from the prior month in May, but was still 87 percent lower than pre-pandemic levels and below analysts’ expectations. 

GGR for the month came in at MOP3.34 billion ($415 million), according to figures from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ). That’s 68 percent down from last year and the second-lowest monthly figure since the borders reopened with China in October 2020. The worst month was April this year.

The consensus had been for GGR in May, which benefited from the Golden Week holiday, to have been 64 percent of 2019 levels. 

Following the release of the figures, analysts at Deutsche Bank wrote down their forecasts for 2Q22 and the full year again. The firm now sees 2Q22 GGR of $1.22 billion, down from $1.26 billion previously. Full-year GGR is expected to hit $9.78 billion, down from $9.82 billion.

If its forecasts are confirmed, GGR for this year would be down 10 percent year-on-year and down 73 percent from its 2019 level. 

J.P. Morgan analysts said the results should not have come as a surprise “given mobility curbs and weak travel sentiment (especially for cross-provincial and cross-border trips) in mainland China, as well as tighter border policy,” it said. “We view these GGR prints as non-events, until a reasonable level of traffic flow resumes with gradual easing of China’s travel/border policy.”

Bernstein is forecasting June GGR to be down 80 percent vs. June’19 but said the figure could still be lower if travel does not pick up during the month.

There are signs that Covid restrictions in China are beginning to ease, with Shanghai having lifted its total lockdown.

However, Covid restrictions aside, there are still concerns over whether China is going to refuse visas to travelers it suspects are frequent gamblers in Macau.

The Mainland recently said it had stopped 90,000 people last year suspected of seeking visas to gamble in the region’s casinos and had persuaded them to stay at home.