Mainland Demand, Ease of Travel Restrictions to Boost Macau

Recovery in Macau is qualified as medium-term bullish, says Morgan Stanley, which has expressed positive outlook for the special administrative region on Monday.

Macau’s Road to Recovery May Not Be too Far Ahead

Chinese nationals may yet play a significant role in Macau’s gaming recovery, with Morgan Stanley assigning on Monday a medium-term bullish recovery to the region.

The banking group expects pent-up demand for leisurely activities to manifest itself in strong economic drive for Macau once travel restrictions are lifted and mainlanders are allowed to travel from the country to the special administrative region once again. Morgan Stanley cited China’s intensified efforts to clamp down on overseas gambling and control gambling revenue outflow, including junket operators.

Positive EBITDA in 2021/2022

In a Memo published on Monday, Morgan Stanley analysts Gareth Leung, Thomas Allen and Praveen Choudhary noted that the VIP segment has remained slow. However, all six of Macau’s operators were moving towards positive EBITDA or earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization.

The analysts noted that all casino operators have been able to enact the necessary reduction in expenses so as to guarantee themselves a stronger 2021/22. Morgan Stanley saw reasons for optimism, including the reintroduction of the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) and self-serving kiosks.

More Reasons to Be Happy

Other positive factors that will spur growth and see the gaming sector begin its recovery are the availability of vaccination, quick and reliable testing, and opening up the Hong Kong border.

A JP Morgan Securities Ltd Memo shared cautious optimism, arguing that while a “path to normalization” is on the cards, the period leading into 2021 may be “choppier” for casino operators. Gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the first 10 months of the year ending on October 31 finished ended up at roughly $5.75 billion, or some 81.4% decline year-over-year.

Daily visitations to the city surpassed 28,000 people on Friday, November 20, an improvement over October, said Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd, a brokerage firm.

Commenting on these developments, Bernstein noted that the company was expecting visitations to continue improving in future, and especially now that travel restrictions are close to being lifted.  

In the meantime, Macau is planning to bolster recovery by finding alternative streams of revenue. For 2021, the special administrative region plans 12 sports events and more family-friendly experiences outside of gambling.

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