Macau casinos kicked off 2022 slower than they did a year ago. Gross gaming revenue (GGR) last month totaled MOP6.34 billion (US$793 million), which was 20.9 percent less than the casinos won in January of 2021.
Data from Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) reveals that casinos additionally experienced a more than 20 percent month-to-month drop. Macau’s gaming industry concluded 2021 with casino win of roughly $991.5 million in December.
Despite the down numbers, both year-over-year and month-to-month, the January numbers were better than analyst expectations.
January is traditionally a cold month in terms of casino business. With COVID-19 outbreaks in neighboring Zhuhai and Zhongshan, and tightened entry protocols in and out of Macau, the consensus forecast among gaming analysts was for gaming win to come in roughly 31 percent below January 2021.
Ready to Pop
The six licensed commercial casino giants operating in Macau continue to wait for China to fully reopen travel. The country’s “zero-COVID” policy has prevented that from happening.
The casinos’ pent-up excitement for the pent-up demand could finally burst this month, as China is amid its annual New Year holiday.
The People’s Republic has designated yesterday, January 31, through this Sunday, February 6, as the official dates of the Lunar New Year — or Spring Festival. 2022 is the Year of the Tiger.
Around 85 percent of the Chinese population is reportedly vaccinated. With nearby Guangdong Province easing testing requirements to travel to Macau during the New Year week, Macau hopes to have a better holiday in 2022 than it did last year.
Macau’s Government Tourism Office expects 20,000 daily visitors to be processed through its border gates during the weeklong period. The 2021 New Year averaged just 12,000 daily entries.
Macau is open to all of mainland China, plus Hong Kong and Taiwan.
People arriving from Hong Kong and Taiwan must present a negative test conducted within the past 24 hours. Mainlanders are able to present a negative test conducted within the past 48 hours.
Visitors from all foreign countries are prohibited from entering Macau. People arriving from the mainland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are too if they visited a foreign country within the past three weeks.
Due to China’s ongoing “zero-COVID” pandemic response and strict reactions to outbreaks and clusters, gaming analysts focused on Asia say it has become increasingly difficult to predict monthly gaming numbers. As a result, JP Morgan announced earlier this month that it was suspending its monthly GGR forecasts for 2022.
Frankly, we feel less confident about our numbers than we did a year ago,” the JP Morgan team said.
The difficult task of foreseeing February GGR numbers and New Year holiday business was complicated this week with Hong Kong reporting its fifth COVID-19 outbreak. Hong Kong additionally confirmed the region’s highest daily tally of unlinked cases since the pandemic’s onset.
February GGR forecasts from the brokerages continuing to issue such guidance will begin rolling in later this week.
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