Macau’s Casinos Report Slight Uptick in Revenue for Early December

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Macau casino gross gaming revenues (GGR) increased 14% in the first week of December, according to a Monday note by brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd. Daily mass-market GGR rose by 20% compared with November’s daily average.

December Starts Strong For Macau

According to the brokerage, the average daily rate for GGR from December 1 through December 5 was MOP260 million ($32.4million), compared with MOP228 million in the previous week.

This improvement was seen despite the arrest of Alvin Chau, the former CEO of Suncity Group. Chau was detained in Macau on suspicion of encouraging cross-border proxy gaming. The largest junket operator in Macau has already shut down operations there as a result.  

Sanford Bernstein analysts Vitaly Umansky, Louis Li, and Kelsey Zhu stated, “We forecast December GGR to be down 68% versus December 2019, i.e., up 9 percent month-on-month, as mass improves but VIP faces headwinds.”  

The analysts observed that the “Suncity case” had “evolved rapidly over the past week.” They hinted at unconfirmed rumors that Wynn Macau Ltd wanted to close all of its junket operations.

Traffic Beginning to Flow

Sanford Bernstein also commented in its Monday note that the daily average outbound and inbound tourist movements for November 25-December 1 was 58,000. This was higher than the May peak month of recovery, which saw a 57,000 daily average in cross-border movements.

The analysts said that the COVID-19 situation in mainland China had “stabilized,” but that China’s Guangdong province on the border with Macau had one case last week that was “something to watch.”

According to the brokerage, “Any outbreak in Guangdong may severely impact Macau’s visitation in the near term.”

The analysts see a positive possibility was on the horizon. Starting Friday, December 10, the Hong Kong government will launch the new ‘Hong Kong Health Code’ system. The institution claimed it was “a major step forward in quarantine-free travel opening between Hong Kong and mainland China and Macau.”

More Changes Coming to Macau

Macau is undergoing a transformation that extends well beyond updated gambling laws. According to the South China Morning Post, officials and executives from the technology industry have reported that China plans to make Macau a large technology hub.

This news comes as Venetian Macao Convention and Exhibition Centre held a major technology-themed trade fair this week, which is expected to help create new industries and revitalize regional economies.

The website for the event portrayed Macau to be “the new center of international technologies” that connects the Asia Pacific tech community with the rest.

According to Lu Gang, the director of the Macao Technology General Association, “Macau may have always been known for gambling and tourism, but the pandemic has hit the city hard. Macau has to diversify. Although it’s small in size, Macau is an international platform connecting the mainland to the world and can help Chinese companies venture abroad.”

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