The Macau gaming industry can achieve its best result since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2023 in terms of gross gaming revenue over the resumption of the issuance of electronic visas for mainland Chinese to visit the city, brokerage BofA Securities said.
The electronically-issued visas and the restoration of mainland Chinese package tours to Macau, both expected to restart in late October or November following a suspension of more than two years, are long-awaited measures to boost the city’s visitation figure and gaming performance, the brokerage remarked in a recent research note.
This easing was advanced by Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng over the weekend, who expects Macau’s visitation volume could then double from the current average daily tally of 20,000 visitors to over 40,000 travellers. He added that the resumption of package tours to Macau would start with travellers from Shanghai and provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Fujian.
In view of the rising number of tourists to Macau, BofA Securities believes the monthly gaming revenue in early 2023 could exceed the result in May 2021, the best monthly performance since the pandemic started in early 2020 at MOP10.45 billion (US$1.3 billion).
According to the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, the gross gaming revenue of Macau amounted to MOP28.86 billion in the first eight months of 2022, or just an average of MOP3.61 billion a month. Prior to the pandemic, the gaming industry recorded a monthly average of MOP24.37 billion in revenue in 2019.
Meanwhile, another brokerage, HSBC Global Research, said that the latest easing underscores Beijing will continue to support Macau, but it cautioned that the recovery of Macau’s tourism still relies on the development of the pandemic situation across the border that might affect the willingness of mainlanders to visit the city.
It might take a few quarters for the Macau visitation volume to slowly recover, the brokerage added.