Macau’s gaming revenue during Golden Week soared to MOP$4.55 billion, surpassing analyst predictions.

During the five-day Golden Week holiday, spanning from May 1 to May 5, 2024, Macau witnessed a remarkable surge in revenue. Gaming operators reported an estimated gross gaming revenue of approximately MOP$4.55 billion, equivalent to an impressive US$565 million per day during the festivities.

Key highlights

JP Morgan analysts had predicted daily revenue to reach MOP$850 million (US$106 million), a significantly exceeded forecast.

The surge in revenue was attributed to several factors, including the quality of visitors to the island. Although the total number of visitors may not have been exceptionally high, the quality of those who did visit was notable, surpassing recent recovery trends by 5%.

Despite below-expected total tourist numbers, with 604,385 visitors during May Golden Week, averaging approximately 120,879 visitors per day, the mass Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) reached 120% of pre-COVID levels. However, VIP GGR decreased by 30%.

Analysts DS Kim, Mufan Shi, and Selina Li warned against extrapolating the Golden Week’s success throughout the rest of May.

Looking at individual casino operators, Wynn Macau Ltd and SJM Resorts SA are expected to achieve double-digit EBITDA growth once first-quarter results are published. However, Galaxy Entertainment Group is expected to experience a sequential pull-back.

According to Inside Asian Gaming, the analysts stated, “This divergence here happens as the industry’s recovery stabilizes after a year of a ‘re-opening rally,’ in turn making idiosyncratic factors (market shares, opex control, promotions) the key earnings driver, in our view. We expect diverging earnings revision trends into and post-1Q results, which should create alpha opportunity within the sector.”

Player spotlight

During the event, one player from South Korea stood out, as reported by Citibank to Inside Asian Gaming. This marked the first time in history that the player of the month wasn’t a Chinese citizen, indicating a positive trend in diversifying the customer base, particularly high-end customers.

The top three players during the event were at the same table at Galaxy’s Horizon Room, each placing bets ranging between HK$250,000 and HK$399,000 (US$31,980 and US$51,040) per hand.

Throughout Golden Week, Macau welcomed 37 high-stakes players, often referred to as “whales,” who placed bets of at least HK$100,000 per hand, marking a slight decrease from the 41 whales recorded during the Chinese New Year festivities in February.