The 40-strong casino market in Macau is reportedly continuing its slow recovery from last year’s coronavirus-related slump after posting a rise of around 13.6% month-on-month in aggregated gross gaming revenues for March to almost $1.04 billion.

According to a report from GGRAsia citing official information from the enclave’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau regulator, the monthly figure represents the market’s best performance of 2021 and took the year-to date tally up to $2.95 billion. However, the source explained that this cumulative reckoning is still some 22.5% below the $3.81 billion chalked up for the same three-month period last year and stands a massive 69% below the about $9.51 billion earned in 2019.

Serious shutdown:

Nevertheless, Macau’s casinos still managed to post a March figure that was an impressive 58% higher than the $656.32 million recorded for the analogous month last year after the threat of the coronavirus pandemic had forced officials into instituting a range of maximum capacity limits, travel restrictions and social distancing protocols. The dangers posed by an ailment that was then known as the ‘Wuhan virus’ had even purportedly obliged the government of the former Portuguese enclave to shutter all local casinos for a 15-day period from February 4 to drive that month’s combined receipts down by 87.8% year-on-year to a paltry $387,500.

Recent revival:

GGRAsia cited a report from JP Morgan in disclosing that the past month has seen Macau’s casino market post sequential improvements in weekly aggregated gross gaming revenues with the daily run rate now standing in the region of $33.46 million. The international brokerage purportedly moreover declared that this represented ‘the best monthly print since coronavirus and showed a consistent sequential recovery from $31.21 million to $32.45 million per day in the past three months.’

Reportedly read a statement from JP Morgan…

“In our view, this reflects improving travel sentiment and pent-up demand as well as the modest relaxation of local restrictions in Macau such as the resumption of standing bets or the removal of coronavirus test requirements for casino entry.”

Failing forecast:

Nevertheless, fellow brokerage Sanford C Bernstein Limited reportedly proclaimed that the March tally was ‘lower than expected partly due to continued weak hold in the month’. This firm furthermore purportedly estimated that mass-market gaming receipts in Macau were currently standing at around 40% of their pre-pandemic heights with VIP play ‘at about 20% levels’.

Exciting expectation:

GGRAsia also reported that Macau’s aggregated gross gaming revenues for April could improve substantially should more coronavirus-linked impediments be curtailed to produce an associated rise in foreign tourism. This forecast purportedly came after February saw local officials take mainland China off of its list of areas where visitors would be considered at ‘medium risk’ of contracting the potentially-lethal contagion.