APAC Casinos Hurting More Than Macau’s by Shrinking Chinese VIP Market
- Cambodia in particular is lagging in GGR recovery due to the absence of Chinese VIPs
- Analysts say it will take three to four years for Cambodia’s casino industry to fully recover
- That’s in contrast to Macau where GGR recovery has so far accelerated
Certain casino markets in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region are bearing the brunt of the shrinking number of Chinese VIP gamblers, according to credit rating agency S&P Global Ratings Inc.
Cambodia Lagging in GGR Recovery
In Cambodia in particular, gross gaming revenue (GGR) is recovering at a much slower pace than its regional counterparts.
Cambodia’s tourism market has shown substantial recovery, with figures now at 84% of pre-pandemic numbers. However, analysts at S&P noted that the country’s GGR has been left behind in recovery, and that’s mainly attributed to the significant decline in the number of Chinese high rollers playing at the country’s only casino, NagaWorld, operated by the Hong Kong-listed NagaCorp Ltd.
NagaWorld has primarily relied on the Chinese VIP market, with 70% of its GGR from 2017 to 2019 accounting for VIPs. Now, with the absence of Chinese junkets, VIPs will only constitute less than 10% of the casino’s aggregate GGR, S&P stated. For this reason, it will take much longer for Cambodia’s casino sector to go back to pre-COVID levels, with analysts predicting full recovery to happen in “more than three to four years”.
The outlook differs in neighboring Macau where GGR is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels at least by 2024. S&P Global has provided a similar forecast for Malaysia where analysts have observed steady GGR recovery.
Macau’s mass market GGR is expected to fully recover in 2024, according to S&P, though recovery in terms of VIP GGR would lag due to stricter junket rules. Analysts believe the city’s total GGR won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until at least 2024-2025.
In Malaysia where GGR recovery has been steady so far, recovery is possible by 2024, according to S&P Global. Genting Malaysia Bhd enjoys a casino monopoly in the country via its Resorts World Genting property. As of Q2 of 2023, S&P stated that Malaysia’s GGR was about 80% of 2019 levels, with the improved recovery boosted by a jump in tourist numbers from Singapore and China.
Macau’s GGR Recovery Accelerating
Macau’s casino GGR continues to recover, with initial results for October showing a daily GGR of around MOP830 million, up nearly 29% from the average daily GGR of MOP645 million recorded during the 2023 May Golden Week, according to a recent memo from JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd.
Citing daily GGR results for the first eight days of October, JP Morgan analysts estimate Macau’s daily GGR run-rate for the first week of the month to be at 80% of 2019 figures, a significant improvement from the 70% reported in Q3.