Macao casinos still aren’t faring too well, as January gambling revenue fell 63.7% in January, the 16th consecutive month of declines and the 12th straight month the year-over-year drop was greater than 60%.
Yet gambling revenue was 2.6% higher than it was in December, which itself was a 15% rise over November. The casino industry is improving, but at a glacial pace.
Little to celebrate
Macao’s Gaming Inspection & Coordination Bureau said January’s monthly gaming revenue came in at 8 billion patacas, the local currency, the equivalent of approximately $1 billion.
Sanford C. Bernstein analysts noted casinos continued to suffer from low visitation rates to the peninsula as travel visa processing is delayed, testing for COVID-19 limits demand, and VIP gamblers are still staying away.
Regulators also require limits on the number of seats at a table game, greater slot machine spacing, temperature checks, and mask mandates.
Wynn Resorts‘ (NASDAQ:WYNN) Macao revenue is down 84% year to date while Melco Resorts & Entertainment‘s (NASDAQ:MLCO) Macao revenue is down 72%.
Analysts have been expecting greater improvement in Macao since October after Beijing began allowing travel to the region again, but bottlenecks persist. The Golden Week holiday also failed to appreciably improve the situation and though casinos are no longer posting 90% or worse declines in revenue, there has been no real movement higher, either.
The Chinese New Year holiday will take place the week of Feb. 11 to Feb. 17, and now analysts are tamping down their prior forecasts.
Gaming site GGRAsia quotes Sanford Bernstein as writing, “The travel impediments will lead certainly to reduced visitation (versus earlier forecasts) into Macau for the next few weeks at least, with Chinese New Year visitation being impacted.”
Even though China has touted its economic vigor since the pandemic began, that strength doesn’t seem to have yet reached Macao.