acau reported a decrease in gaming revenue for July as border flexibilizations with the mainland came under question following new Covid-19 flare ups in China.
Gross gaming revenue rose 528.1% in July to $1.05 billion, according to the data revealed by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. That trailed the median analyst estimate for a 540.5% increase, which represents a new low point in three months.
Revenue increased by a 29.2% from the previous month and is down 65.5% from the pre-pandemic level in 2019.
While gaming licenses for Macau’s six casino operators are due to be renewed by next June, Melco Resorts & Entertainment chairman Lawrence Ho said at a July analyst briefing that he "would not be surprised if they were extended by another year or two, as the government focuses on Covid-related matters".
Anticipation grows over further integration between Macau and the nearby mainland special economic zone Hengqin, a move that would have a mixed impact on the gaming industry.
According to Bloomberg, Intelligent analyst Angela Hanlee spoke about this issue.
“The extra land could be used to add hotel rooms to accommodate more middle-class visitors to Macau, but authorities will likely not allow casino building on Hengqin”.
JP Morgan analyst DS Kim wrote in a July 19 note that “that could limit the industry’s gaming growth. Gaming revenue is expected to reach a post-pandemic high in August during the summer school holidays”.
Progress in reopening the border with mainland China is still unclear. While Macau has removed quarantine requirements for visitors from the neighbouring mainland province of Guangdong since July, a rise in Covid cases elsewhere in China has triggered similar measures for Liaoning, Jiangsu and Sichuan and more testing requirements for visitors arriving by air.
Whether Macau’s border with Hong Kong will fully reopen remains uncertain. Visitation from the financial hub that’s only a ferry ride away is less than 10% now of what it was in pre-pandemic times due to quarantine requirements.