Casino officials in Macao are hopeful that the beginning of the celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year will bring more tourists to the Chinese gambling enclave.
Macao’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau on Tuesday reported a 20.9 percent decline in gross gaming revenue from January 2021 to $790 million for the month.
It was the first decline in revenue since October, when the government reported a 40 percent downturn from the previous year. The months of November and December showed small revenue gains of 0.001 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively.
The numbers are important to three Las Vegas-based gaming companies with holdings in Macao — market leader Las Vegas Sands Corp., Wynn Resorts Ltd. and MGM Resorts International, which has a partnership with another operator.
Sands, in an earnings call last week, said that the company is remaining patient with its Macao holdings and expects the market eventually to rebound.
Wynn and MGM are expected to break out their Macao revenue in earnings calls later this month.
Visitation to Macao has been dampened as a result of increased border restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Chinese media reported Macao anticipated receiving 20,000 people daily as tourists to the city during the Chinese New Year holidays. The announcement was made over the weekend by a representative from the Macao Government Tourism Office.
Nevada gaming regulators also reported 2021 revenue last week and in a rare occurrence, the state performed better than Macao with $13.43 billion in 2021, up 70.6 percent from 2020. Macao reported $10.816 billion for the year, up 43.7 percent from 2020.
While Macao’s January numbers were down 20.9 percent from a year ago, they were off 74.6 percent from January 2019.
Carlo Santarelli, a gaming industry analyst in the New York office of Deutsche Bank, said in a report to investors that he is projecting gross gaming revenue of $13.1 billion in 2022, with gradual quarterly improvements through 2022 and $20.2 billion in 2023.
The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Dr. Miriam Adelson, the majority shareholder of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Las Vegas Sands operates six properties in Macao.