We’re already halfway into May, but the final picture of how Macau’s gaming revenue will shape up still isn’t very clear. Some analysts predict zero growth, while others say there could be a moderate increase. Generally speaking, though, it looks like the slowdown that began this past January is going to continue, at least for a little while longer.
The Sanford C. Bernstein brokerage published its updated forecast this past Tuesday, asserting that the gross gaming revenue (GGR) for Macau will increase between 2-4% year-on-year. Nomura’s Instinet stockbroking arm, on the other hand, believes that there will be no growth. They both agreed on one point, though -VIP and mass-gaming segments have improved over last month.
Vitaly Umansky, Eunice Lee and Kelsey Zhu with Bernstein are optimistic about long-term VIP growth in Macau. They explain, “Potential high-end GGR stabilisation and renewed strength may come from a recovering credit cycle in China, which may support VIP recovery in the second half. The recent heightened tension in U.S.-China trade relations, however, casts uncertainty over the GGR recovery. If the trade war sustains over an extended period, it will likely pose a headwind to China’s economy and gaming spend from China’s high-net-worth individuals in Macau.”
The analysts added that the channel checks are showing that the GGR for Macau casinos was, on average, about $95.9 million each day from May 6 to May 13. This was a slight dip that was expected after the holiday period at the beginning of the month that attracted many visitors from mainland China, the city’s main feeder market.
The analysts also believe that the VIP market hold rate has stabilized after reaching levels higher than what was seen in March and April. Mass-market and VIP market volume was estimated to be at least 10% greater than the previous month.
Instinet analysts don’t expect any change, and forecast GGR of between $3.09 billion and $32.2 billion, roughly equal to what it was last year. For the week of May 6 to May 13, the analysts, Harry Curtis, Daniel Adam and Brian Dobson, show that the average casino GGR rate was about $92.9 million per day, a drop following the holiday period.
Instinet added that the average daily volume for VIP gaming was about 30% greater than in April and VIP hold was about 3%, in line with previous predictions of a hold rate of between 2.7-3%. Mass market daily GGR was between 12-15% higher than April’s average. The next two weeks will make or break GGR for Macau.