Macau border

Macau’s daily gross gambling revenue (GGR) shot up 9 percent at MOP86 million ($11 million) on a week-on-week basis between 15-21 August, 2022, Bernstein reports.

Average Daily Revenue (ADR) between Aug 8-14 at Macau casinos was recorded in the tune of MOP79mm ($10 million)

Channel checks indicate that Macau’s August Month-to-Date (MTD) GGR from August 1-21 was MOP1.4 billion (US$173 million, with ADR recorded during the same period of MOP67million (US$8 million) which is yet 91 percent low compared to Aug’19 ADR and 53 percent low on a year-on-year basis as compared to Aug 21 ADR.

When comparing the same ADR on a month-on-month basis,  it is up by 419 percent from July’22’s very low ADR, the report highlighted.

The rise in daily GGR at Macau casinos was largely attributed to the re-opening of the borders, adjoining China.

Visitation

Average daily travel in or out of Macau gradually recovered to 20,700 between Aug 11-17, 52 percent up on a WoW basis compared to 13,650 of the previous week between Aug 4-10.

August MTD average daily visitation is recorded at 14,350 from Aug 1-17, was up almost 20 times versus July 22’s minimal average of 687 visitors.

Bernstein forecasts Aug’22 GGR to be down 90 percent as compared to Aug’19 but likely to reach five folds up on a month-on-month basis as compared to July’22 numbers.

A word of caution from the leading brokerage: “Macau GGR could be lower if travel is impacted as there is a tropical storm headed towards the Pearl River Delta later this week which could disrupt travel.”

Bernstein, in the long-term, remains bullish on Macau recovery driven by border reopening and led by mass/premium mass recovery.

Stocks

While recommending the top picks Bernstein’s report notes that, “Sands China, which offers the best risk or reward opportunity at current valuations, while MGM China looks exceedingly cheap and is a good choice if liquidity constraints are not an impediment, as the stock has more limited trading volumes and is relatively small.”

Whereas for US-listed stocks, playing the Asia recovery theme the Bernstein report says, “LVS and MLCO are our top picks. Galaxy remains the “safe choice” for exposure to a Macau recovery and offers a compelling long-term thematic of mass share gain on capacity expansion.”

MGM Resorts is the brokerage’s pick for US gaming recovery and exposure to the fast-growing interactive gaming or sports betting opportunity; along with MGM’s completion of its real estate portfolio and reallocation of capital to new investments, deleveraging and return of capital to investors.

While Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace are both Outperform and the brokerage finds relatively more compelling opportunities in other stocks at present as Wynn carries more risks, the report read.

SJM remains Market-Perform as Berstein sees no discernible reason to invest in the stock but due to the brokerage’s thesis, it does see the stock benefiting from any recovery momentum.

Caution

“GGR is still constrained by travel restrictions and the city’s COVID measures, but has seen w/w recovery after border reopening with China,” the brokerage report reads.

Attributing the logic of the constrained recovery the brokerage report says, “The daily visitation has been exceeding 20,000 since Aug 13, though still has distance from (COVID) normal level of 1H22 average of 37,000.”

However, the average daily visitation on MTD basis recorded in the month of August 2022 from Aug 1-17 was still 75% lower than the previous peak of May ’21 which comprised 57,000 daily average since COVID began.”

The brokerage report also conservatively cautioned against the slow recovery narrating, “The recovery is still slow as constrained by various travel restrictions in China, and players remaining cautious on travel in fear of the government suddenly imposing lockdown order like in Sanya of Hainan province.”