Macau Concessionaires Get Good News with End of Guangdong Quarantine Policy

In what could be the start of a rebound for Macau gaming operators, Guangdong province is lifting its 14-day quarantine policy on all visitors returning from the gaming center. That change goes into effect early Wednesday, July 15.

Guangdong Lifting Border Policies
The Guangdong/Macau border crossing, seen here, is about to get busier because of relaxed travel policies. (Image: Macau News)

Guangdong is the nearest province to Macau and serves as a major thoroughfare for mainland gamblers looking to enter the gaming hub. In 2019, the province accounted for 45 percent of the visits to Macau. Since March 27, Guangdong enforced a 14-day quarantine protocol for anyone entering the region from another area, including Macau.

From 6 a.m. on 15 July, all visitors crossing borders between Macau and Guangdong Province will no longer need to undergo 14-day mandatory quarantine,” reports Inside Asian Gaming (IAG). “However, those visitors must be tested negative for COVID-19 within 7 effective days and must hold ‘green’ health codes of Macau and Guangdong.”

Since border restrictions went into place at the hands of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, analysts widely viewed the reopening of travel between Guangdong and Macau as essential to the latter’s recovery hopes. In midday trading, Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS) and Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN), which combine to own seven of Macau’s integrated resorts, are both up more than eight percent on the Guangdong news.

Essential to Recovery

News of the relaxed travel policy with Guangdong arrives less than two weeks after Macau said June gross gaming revenue (GGR) was less than $90 million, a staggering 97 percent tumble on a year-over-year basis.

Underscoring the gravity of the Guangdong headlines, experts recently said that erasing travel restrictions with that province alone could send Macau monthly GGR figures back to at least $750 million, and perhaps as high as $1.25 billion.

Guangdong is essential to Macau’s fortunes, not only because of proximity, but also because of size. It’s home to roughly 114 million citizens and is the largest mainland province by population, featuring some of China’s biggest metropolitan areas, such as Guangzhou, Shenzhen, and Zhuhai.

While the travel rules pertaining to Guangdong and Macau will be significantly looser come Wednesday, there are some remaining stipulations. Primarily, Chinese citizens and Macau residents that work in Guangdong must stay in the province for a set period of time upon entry from the gaming hub, although the time frame for that required stay isn’t yet known.

It’s a Start, But…

Liberalizing travel between Guangdong and Macau is a step in the right direction for the gaming center’s recovery hopes. Today’s price action in shares of operators with exposure to the special administrative region (SAR) proves as much, but there’s still work to be done.

For example, plans for a travel bubble between Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau recently fell apart because of a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong.

Speaking of the virus, Disney announced earlier today that Hong Kong Disneyland is closing again barely a month after it reopened because of the uptick in coronavirus cases. Travelers moving between Hong Kong and Macau currently deal with 14-day quarantines on both sides of their trips.

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