Macau’s Gaming Revenue Dips in February Despite Tourist Rush

Despite a busy Golden Week that brought in a steady stream of visitors, Macau’s gross gaming income declined in February, coming in at around MOP18.5 billion (US$2.3 billion), as opposed to January’s MOP19.34 billion ($2.4 billion), which was driven by a spike in mass-market momentum.

Industry estimates for 2019 were not met, even though sales increased by 79% from the year before, indicating a 73% recovery from pre-pandemic levels. JP Morgan, a stockbroker, and Wilfred Wong of Sands China both forecast revenue that was below expectations. Wong put out a possibility of up to MOP20 billion ($2.48 billion), while JP Morgan estimated at least MOP19 billion ($2.35 billion).

Cautious Spending Despite Tourist Influx

While February saw a record number of visitors during the Lunar New Year, reaching 1.4 million arrivals, the cautious spending outlook among tourists dampened revenue growth, missing the analyst estimates for a 92% year-on-year increase. This caution stems from economic uncertainties in China, including falling home prices and a stock market downturn.

Due to Beijing’s crackdown on high-rolling gamblers, who had previously made up a significant portion of Macau’s gaming income, the business now depends more on mass-market visitors, who are more susceptible to changes in the economy. Macau’s tourist sector is recovering from the epidemic, but there are still obstacles to overcome as seen by the city’s declining per capita expenditure.

In the near future, good hotel occupancy rates and high room rates in late February and early March are projected to keep Macau a popular tourist destination. On the other hand, the benchmark Hang Seng Index increased by 6.6% over the same period, while the Bloomberg Intelligence index of Macau casino companies saw a 1.1% fall in market performance.

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