Asia round-up: Meagre Macau, the changing of The Star, Melco revenue & GiG

Macau has recorded gross gaming revenue (GGR) of MOP3.67bn (US$459m) for March 2022.   

asia news round up macau stocks down web image

This is down 56% year-on-year and 54% lower than the GGR recorded for February, according to data recorded by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ).  

This GGR total of MOP$3.67bn is the lowest since September 2020 and worse than median analyst estimates of 55%.   

Revenue was down 86% from pre-pandemic levels in March 2019. Accumulated gross revenue was down 25% year-on-year in March, too, at MOP$17.75bn.  

March’s swift downturn has flattened hopes of a gradual recovery continuing, as had been intimated in both January and February this year.  

It is the reintroduction of travel restrictions and social distancing measures, following a rise in Covid-19 cases in Macau’s surrounding prefectures, that has fuelled this downturn.   

A continuous slew of lockdowns, which have plagued Chinese territories for over two years, shows no signs of abating, given that China is persisting with its zero-tolerance policy on Covid.     

This is not the only issue Macau is currently facing – the region is in the midst of changes to gambling regulations and updates to casino licences, as well as a complete overhaul of its junket system. 

Melco Resorts Q4 operating revenue falls slightly

Integrated resorts operator Melco Resorts & Entertainment has reported Q4 operating revenue for 2021 of $480.6m, a 9% decrease year-on-year. 

Melco attributes this decrease to weaker performance in the rolling chip segment of its casinos.   

Despite this downturn in revenue, Melco recorded a reduced operating loss in 2021’s fourth quarter. Operating loss stood at $104.4m, compared to losses of $144.8m in the fourth quarter of 2020.   

Melco generated adjusted property EBITDA of $94m, which too was down on the $53.4m EBITDA generated in Q4 2020.   

Even with this slightly gloomy picture in Melco’s fourth quarter, it has seen positives in its full-year listings. Total operating revenue stood at $2.01bn for the year, up by US$280m in total revenue for 2020.  

“This GGR total of MOP$3.67bn is the lowest since September 2020... Revenue was down 86% from pre-pandemic levels in March 2019” Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, Macau

Melco attributes its full-year revenue gains to improved performances in mass-market table games, gaming machine segments and higher non-gaming revenues.   

What’s more, operating loss was down to $577.5m, from $940.6m for the full year in 2020.   

Net loss decreased for the full year, too, dropping from $1.26bn at the end of 2020, to $811.8m at the end of 2021.   

The Star names John O’Neill Interim Executive Chairman to replace outgoing CEO 

The Star Entertainment Group has named current Board Chair John O’Neill Executive Chairman on an interim basis, assuming the responsibilities of the beleaguered company’s outgoing CEO. 

In the wake of Matt Bekier’s resignation, which came amid an ongoing public hearing into alleged anti-money laundering (AML) failures, The Star has appointed O’Neill to lead the company until a new CEO and Managing Director can be found. 

The Star said it has engaged headhunting firm Spencer Stuart to search for a replacement, but until one is located, O’Neill will serve as Executive Chairman, though Bekier will be available in the short term to assist with the transition. 

While undertaking the responsibilities of his temporary role, O’Neill will be paid additional remuneration, amounting to AU$1.5m (US$1.1m) per annum, or AU$125,000 per month. 

This, The Star added, will bring his total pay to approximately AU$2m. The Star’s Board will also embark on “a programme of renewal in a timely manner.” 

GiG appoints Michael Ahearne as a new board member 

Elsewhere, Gaming Innovation Group’s board of directors has appointed current SkyCity Entertainment CEO Michael Aheame as a new board member.  

This appointment follows approval from shareholders in a special meeting. 

The news comes after GiG had earlier announced the acquisition of iGaming provider Sportnco, in a deal worth over $56m. 

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