According to Hoffman Ma Ho Man the newly-reported cases of COVID-19 will not disrupt the overall recovery and lifting of border restrictions. Still, lifting those restrictions cannot be predicted with accuracy, Ma cautions.
COVID-19 Cases in Beijing Not Very likely to Disrupt Overall Recovery
GGRAsia, the leading casino business journal covering Asia’s gambling industry, has spoken to analyst Hoffman Ma Ho Man, the deputy chairman of Hong Kong-based Universe Group Ltd, about the newly-reported cases of COVID-19 in Beijing.
According to him, the new cases on the mainland will be addressed promptly, minimizing the fear of a new wave striking China and wrecking the economy and, by extension, reflecting on the casino industry. He was responding to news published on Monday by Xinhua, the official news agency, that Liaoning, Hebei, and Sichuan, all provinces in China, have reported new COVID-19 cases, sending scares across markets.
Petrol prices have already crashed on the news that China and the United States are both seeing an increase in the overall number of infections. Yet, Ma seemed more confident about potential collateral damage, such as paralyzing the casino industry in Macau once again.
Cited by GGRAsia, he argued that the Chinese government has already ushered in aggressive measures to prevent another outbreak from spreading as quickly as the previous one. Meanwhile, Macau cautioned that any traveller arriving from an infected destination would have to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
Can Macau Recover Depending on Pent-up Demand?
With travellers looking to return to casinos, Macau was the first bastion of gambling to fall around the world. After the special administrative region forced all venues to shut down in February, revenue has not returned nowhere near pre-crisis levels when numbers were still falling.
A recent study by Fitch and covered by GamblingNews.com cautioned that the US industry alone would probably need three years to recover to pre-crisis levels. However, Ma remains even more optimistic, speaking of pent-up demand and that once the borders are lifted, casinos will see huge demand.
He argued that border controls remain uncertain right now, things are bound to normalize. Macau and Hong Kong have also introduced a 14-day quarantine for travellers to and from either destination. However, China, Macau and Hong Kong are now considering a “travel bubble,” allowing all three destinations to cancel quarantine for incoming travellers.
Analyzing what would indicate that China is readying to ease up restrictions, Ma said that the Guangdong province will probably see relaxation of measures first as it’s directly located next to Macau. He also predicted that should Guangdong travellers be let back in, Macau’s revenue in July could reach 50% of what it was back in 2019 that month.
Ma noted that the segment to recover the quickest will, without doubt be, VIP and high roller players.