Although the first two months of the year have been relatively decent for Macau’s gaming community, March may not be so hot. Analysts with Instinet, the stockbroking division of Nomura, forecast gross gaming revenue (GGR) to remain flat or decline by 5% year-on-year. Bernstein analysts predict a 3% decrease year-on-year.
In a report published this past Monday, Instinet analysts Harry Curtis, Daniel Adam and Brian Dobson said that the GGR for March would not be as good as previously expected. Previously, GGR had expected to remain flat or increase by 5% year-on-year. They added, “Factoring in the somewhat lower-than-expected weekly GGR numbers month-to-date, we now expect the sequential lift in March (from February) to be slightly lower than its historical average of up low-single-digit sequentially.”
The analysts pointed out that the average daily mass-market revenues for the city are about 6-7% lower than the average for last month. VIP volume is about 13-14% lower than it was in February. They further offered, “Assuming GGR per day settles at approximately MOP800 million (US$98.78 million) to MOP850 million [$105.13 million] for the remaining two weeks of the month, we now estimate March GGR will be around flat to down 5 percent year-on-year.”
In Bernstein’s analysis of Macau’s gaming industry, the company estimates the GGR average daily rate (ADR) between March 11-17 to be about $91.77 million. This was similar to Nomura’s estimate, which was $91.89 million.
Bernstein also stated that its channel checks show Macau’s aggregate GGR for the month to date to be around $1.706 billion, resulting in an ADR of approximately $110.3 million. This is a decrease of 3% on the ADR for the same month last year, and the ADR for the month to date has decreased 10% from the previous month’s rate.
Because of the performance, Bernstein analysts Vitaly Umansky, Eunice Lee and Kelsey Zhu have lowered this month’s performance estimate to be “-5 percent to -3 percent year-on-year.” They pointed out that the smoking ban that went into effect at the beginning of January could still be causing an impact on gaming revenue and added, “We expect year-on-year comparison to be difficult through end of April, as GGR was very robust in early 2018 until U.S.-China trade tensions heightened beginning last summer.”