An expected sad March for Macau: GGR down 79.7%

After March results, in the first quarter of 2020, Macau's gaming revenue had a y-o-y drop of 60%.

According to data released by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, revenue accumulated MOP$5.26 billion (US$658.3 million), a huge year-on-year fall due to COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent border restrictions.

It was quite obvious that revenue numbers for gaming in Macau were not going to be positive in March 2020, after Coronavirus effect. However, indicators were better than the ones from February 2020 (87.8% year-on-year decline), when the city’s casinos were closed for 15 days to halt the locally spread of the virus, and the occupancy rate of hotels descended 77%. March monthly result puts the Macau gaming market’s accumulated 2020 y-o-y drop at 60%, to just under MOP30.49 billion (US$3.82 billion), compared with MOP$76.15 billion (US$9.54 billion) over the same period in 2019.

There was also a reduction in tourism activity due to travel restrictions imposed by Macau and governments outside. At the same time, the MICE industry (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) suffered the cancellation or postponement of over 500 exhibitions and conventions through March 2020 due to the impact of the ongoing pandemic. Alan Ho, Managing Director of the Macau Convention and Exhibition Association, said that, before the virus, he expected 2020 to be a busy year for the MICE sector, with over 1,500 exhibitions and conventions planned. Now, that industry is being heavily impacted. In that senses, Ho indicated the SAR (Macao Special Administrative Region) government is planning measures aimed at supporting MICE segment, with an announcement expected in the near future.

About the future, analysts from investment bank Morgan Stanley estimated this revenue ‘bleeding’ of Macau’s gaming industry will stop in October, when GGR will likely stabilize and return to relatively normal levels. They also foresee FY20 GGR down 35%, but 2021 growth of 40%.