Macau showing signs of improvement with GGR spike

By Charlotte Lee Updated
Macau showing signs of improvement with GGR spike

Macau has recorded its highest daily gross gaming revenue average in nine months, with analysts strongly encouraged by the figures.

Inside Asian Gaming reports that in the week following Chinese New Year, Macau’s gross gaming revenue from 7 to 13 February reached an average US$53 million per day, representing a 29 per cent improvement over CNY and the highest daily rate since the May 2021 holiday period.

The figures, coming off the back of a 52 per cent increase in visitation over the previous seven days, is particularly impressive given the headwinds facing the VIP industry since the November arrest of Suncity Group chief executive officer Alvin Chau.

“It’s often been the case that tail-end demand was stronger than Lunar New Year demand itself, but recall, a big chunk of such tail-end came from high-end and VIP in the past,” said JP Morgan’s DS Kim, Amanda Cheng and Livy Lyu.

“Thus, this strong tail-end, without junkets, is impressive and a very encouraging sign to suggest robust pent-up demand for mass gambling, in our view.”

Macau still adhering to strict entry requirements

The improvement comes despite Macau still requiring arrivals via the Gongbei Border Gate, by far the most popular entry point, to show a negative COVID-19 test result obtained within the previous 48 hours.

Bernstein’s Vitaly Umansky said mass gross gaming revenue was driven by strong visitation and premium play post-holiday, while VIP also improved despite the hold-rate dropping back to normal after outperforming during CNY.

Month to date, Macau’s gross gaming revenue is estimated at US$620 million with an average daily rate of US$48 million, down 58 per cent on February 2019, but 47 per cent higher year-on-year.

Bernstein estimates that VIP GGR has doubled compared with January, albeit from a low base, while mass GGR is up 80 per cent month-on-month.

February GGR is forecast to come in at around 45 per cent higher than January 2022, which would represent a 64 per cent decline on February 2019.

46 arrested by police for loan sharking in China and Macau

A cross-border police operation in Macau and China has seen 46 people arrested for suspected loan sharking.

Macau’s Judiciary Police told local media that the loan sharking gang issued loans of US$540,000 since January 2021, with victims regularly detained against their will and tortured.

Members of the gangs are alleged to have targeted victims in Macau’s casinos by looking for players who wanted to borrow money and charging both 10 per cent immediate interest on those borrowings plus 20 per cent of any winnings.

If unable to repay their debts, victims would be taken to one of five apartments where they would be locked up, beaten and in some cases, made to drink sewerage. 

Loans ranged from US$10,000 to US$37,500.

Authorities discovered the gang after arresting 16 people last year for usury.

An investigation was launched in cooperation with mainland authorities which led to the arrest of 40 suspects across 11 regions in China on December 26.

Another six were arrested in Macau, including two men who were about to return to mainland China via the Border Gate.

All six, who have refused to cooperate with police, are facing charges of usury, money laundering and organised crime.

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