It’s not a complete wasteland out there, but the pickings are slim indeed. According to a note from Sanford Bernstein, Macau’s gross gaming revenues were MOP$1.4 billion through the first eight days of the month, down 79% year-on-year.
The research house expects Macau to be down around 75%-80% YoY this month – assuming there are no surprise changes in regulations affecting visitation.
Visitor numbers are improving slightly, from around 5,000 visitors per day in late February to 8,000 at the start of the month and 11,000 over the weekend. These are mostly from Hong Kong and other parts of Asia, as mainland visitors are still effectively barred from Macau.
Headcounts aren’t everything, however. The VIP segment is performing better, aided by high hold, Sanford Bernstein’s team estimates. Casino sources we spoke to said mainland players that were prepared to go through health checks upon entry – which can last up to eight hours – were typically of a higher quality.
Bernstein’s channel checks indicate that Melco and Wynn are outperforming, due to their weighting toward VIP players. Not that market share really matters at these levels.
The burning question on every casino manager’s mind at the moment is what to expect once the IVS resumes and the planes, trains and automobiles start moving again. How have players’ businesses and/or personal finances been impacted? How likely are they to come back as frequently as they did before? And how much are they likely to spend?