Sands premium mass results recovered to half of pre-pandemic times

Las Vegas Sands premium mass has made a very ‘significant recovery’ and is already approaching 50 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, while VIP results are still “struggling” and are still at levels 20 per cent or under, the group’s Senior Vice President of Global Gaming Strategy, Grant Chum, stated in the conference call for Sands first-quarter results.

“The segments are actually following very different trajectories, and we would expect that to continue for the time being[…] the great assets on the integrated resort that all of the operators, including us, have attracted more and more of these consumers to the premium mass program, and we expect that to continue over time as these non-gaming lifestyle assets and products continue to attract people to play in our programs,” the also Executive Director and COO at Sands China Ltd.

Sands China ended the first quarter of this year with US$213 million (MOP1.7 billion) in net losses, a small improvement from the previous three months as revenue continued to increase.

Still, the group’s CEO and Chairman, Rob Goldstein, noted in the call the group still generated US$244 million of EBITDA for the quarter and continued to believe in continued recovery for the next months.

“We continue to have a strong belief in the Macau recovery because the March numbers were very different from those in January and February and the recent visitation numbers and whether in this for April reflect continued acceleration,” Goldstein added.

The total number of tourist arrivals for the first three months of 2021 still reported a 7.4 per cent decline from the previous quarter to some 1.7 million visits, however, visitation has gradually improved in April and the Labour Day golden week approaches.

Daily visitor arrivals to and departures from Macau reached levels between 36,500 to 56,600 per day between April 5 to April 11, up from 30,000 to 40,000 earlier this year and close to the March average of about 49,000 per day.

At the same time, daily gaming revenues have continued a trend of growth in April, reaching MOP128 million between April 1 and 18, a 12 per cent rise whence compared to the March average.

Goldstein also addressed the recent Chief Executive announcement that local authorities would be evaluating the possibility of advancing legislation that could allow for a centralised digital yuan to be used in the SAR.

“We think it’s an additional form of liquidity into the market. Two, it won’t pre-empt other currencies, there are ways of having funds to gamble. But also, I think some of the problems we have in our industry we think that everything is done in Beijing, they’re actually thinking about casinos in Macau,” Goldstein noted.

Although gaming analysts believe the introduction of a digital yuan in the SAR would strongly curtail VIP results, the Sands China CEO defended it would not impact the city “whatsoever” while Chum underlined Macau would ‘adjust and adapt in order to accommodate this broader strategy on digital currency’.

“I think the assumption has been by a lot of people, this is a negative thing. We view it as a positive as again, we would love to have more cross-currency and more cross-border currency. So to me, the long to protect the Hong Kong dollar and the renminbi, it’s another form of currency. And I should only be concerned, our business is not built on money laundering or on necessary junket profile,” Goldstein noted.