MGM China committed to Macau

By Noah Taylor Updated
MGM China committed to Macau

MGM China is committed to Macau and ready to invest further in the region as it begins its road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asgam reports that MGM China Chairperson Bill Hornbuckle confirmed the organisation’s commitment in comments he made as part of MGM China’s 2020 Annual Report, published last Tuesday, in which he outlined the company’s progress through the latter half of 2020 and into 2021.

That progress included a return to positive earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for both Macau properties, MGM Macau and MGM Cotain, in fourth quarter 2020 with MGM China having previously reported group-wide adjusted EBITDA of US$47.4 million for the quarter.

Hornbuckle said the company was ready to invest further in Macau in the future.

“Macau is our home” he said.

“We are committed to further growth in the region and will continue to invest in our employees, our communities and Macau itself.

“We see 2021 as a year of growth and further success, and we look forward to continuing our work with the Macau government and our community partners to help the region flourish and emerge stronger than ever.”

Noting that Macau had seen a steady improvement in market-wide gross gaming revenue in quarter four, down by around 70 per cent year-on-year versus a 93 per cent decline in quarter three, Hornbuckle said: “We expect that the rate of recovery will continue, driven by the premium mass market visitors whom MGM Macau and MGM Cotai are well-positioned to serve.”

According to Hornbuckle, the rise in Macau’s premium mass segment saw a shift in MGM China’s consumer mix in 2020, with mass now comprising 72 per cent of its GGR and VIP just 28 per cent compared with 64 per cent and 36 per cent respectively in 2019.

As a result, MGM China saw its overall gaming market share increase from 9.5 per cent in 2019 to 12.6 per cent in 2020.

While the increase in market share is tempered by the fact that revenues have been dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Hornbuckle made note of the fact that the company’s financial position remains strong with total liquidity of US$1.2 billion comprised of cash, cash equivalents and undrawn credit facilities as of December 31, 2020.

Macau casinos set for bumper May thanks to Golden Week

The upcoming May Day Golden Week activities in Macau won’t be subject to the same travel restrictions as the Chinese New Year celebrations in the city. reported in early April that Swiss bank UBS arrived at the hypothesis by way of conversations with an unidentified local official.

The May Day festival, which is usually a major tourism driver for the casino centre, kicks off on May 1.

“We are now at a similar time frame before May Golden Week holiday and with vaccination efforts rolling out, and Macau not having had a local case in the last 12 months, the local official doesn’t expect to see the same travel restrictions as Chinese New Year,” the UBS note said.

Lunar New Year festivities are also a key contributor to Macau’s gaming and tourism dependent economy.

But rebound hopes on the back of that celebration were dashed this year, as the SAR implemented strict health and safety protocols stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

In early March, Macau halted COVID-19 vaccinations after a defective batch of BioNTech’s treatment was discovered.

That situation is rectified and locals and casino staff can soon resume receiving the injections.

“Macau had a hiccup with the BioNTech vaccine due to packaging, but the official says local expectations are for resumption of vaccinations this week,” said UBS.

Wider vaccine distribution is part of what’s been a stretch of green shoots for Macau, as the world’s largest gaming hub looks to shake off the effects of the pandemic.

Officials recently said that casinos no longer need to see negative COVID-19 tests to admit patrons.

Additionally, Macau officials are actively working with their counterparts in mainland China to expedite the approval process for individual visit scheme visas.

Prior to the pandemic, tourists could apply for those permits online.

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