Macau Gambling Set to Report ‘Worst Quarter Ever’ With $1bn EBITDA Loss

  • Morgan Stanley has calculated Macau gaming's total Q2 EBITDA loss at $1.04bn
  • Melco Resorts, Sands China expected to post highest operator revenues for Q2 
  • Q2 VIP gaming revenue anticipated to show 97% drop year-on-year
  • COVID-19 restrictions have created challenges for operators since February
  • June generated lowest monthly gambling revenue in Macau's history 
night shot of illuminated casinos in Macau, China
Macau’s gambling market may have seen the worst quarter in its history after suffering from COVID-19 restrictions, according to Morgan Stanley Research. [Source: Shutterstock.com]

Loss due to COVID-19

According to investment bank Morgan Stanley, the Macau gambling market is soon to report its “worst quarter ever” in Q2 2020, suffering an EBITDA loss of more than $1bn.

report attributed the loss to travel and tourism restrictions

In a preview of 2Q20 results, Morgan Stanley Research calculated total EBITDA loss at around $1.04bn, including losses of $286m for Sands China and $205m for Melco Resorts and Entertainment. The report attributes the loss to travel and tourism restrictions created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Q2 daily operating expenses are expected to have decreased by around 5% for Macau’s operators, totaling $15m. This would show a drop of 21% year-on-year.

EBITDA stands for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. This accounting measure works out a company’s earnings before interest expenses, taxes, depreciation, and amortization are subtracted in order to indicate a given business’s current operating profitability.

Predictions for Macau operators

Morgan Stanley indicated that the quarter’s results would demonstrate which of Macau’s six licensed operators were able to cut their expenses most effectively during this challenging period.

Melco Resorts and Sands China will post the highest gambling revenues

Its report also predicts that Melco Resorts and Sands China will post the highest gambling revenues in Q2. It calculates Melco’s Q2 revenue at $120m, still a 92% drop from 2019. Meanwhile, Sands China is expected to report revenue of $91m, representing a 96% decrease.

Galaxy Entertainment is estimated to generate the next highest total at $71m, while revenue for SJM Holdings is reported at $62m. Wynn Macau and MGM China are expected to post the lowest figures at $46m and $35m respectively.

According to Morgan Stanley analysts, the market’s Q2 VIP gaming revenue may have dropped by 97% year-on-year. They predict that Melco Resorts will top the VIP earnings list with $73m.

Despite expected EBITDA losses, Morgan Stanley’s growth estimates for Macau remain at -55% for the year. However, estimates for the market’s 2020 gross gaming revenue show a drop to 59% year-on-year from 58%. The decline in 2020 VIP segment revenue has also been corrected to a 51% drop for the year instead of 50%.

Challenging period for the market

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hugely detrimental to gambling operators in Macau. In February, casinos were forced to close for 15 days as the government attempted to limit the spread of the virus. Since then, their revenues have been consistently low as travel and tourism restrictions remained in place.

lowest monthly gambling revenue in its history

In June, the market experienced its lowest monthly gambling revenue in its history. The total of $89.7m represented a record low for the region and a drop of 97% year-on-year. For H1 2020, Macau’s total gaming revenue was $18.7bn, a drop of 77% from 2019. Those operators who rely on the Macau market are struggling as a result.

Melco Resorts suffered a net loss of $364m in Q1 2020, in comparison to its net income of $120.1m in 2019. The operator’s gross gaming revenue also fell to $964m, a drop of 40% year-on-year. Similarly, Sands China has suffered significant losses this year. The operator generated just $9m for the month of April, a 99% decrease from 2019. The company was forced to borrow $404m from its revolving credit facility to cover the costs incurred from operating its Macau properties.