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Macau Rocked by Record 97% Drop in April Gaming Revenue

Macau's gaming revenue tumbles a record 97% in April due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Macau's gaming revenue tumbled a record 97% in April, as the world's biggest gambling hub was rocked by the coronavirus shutdown.

Companies with a presence in the autonomous region on the south coast of China include Las Vegas Sands  (LVS) - Get Las Vegas Sands Corp. Report, MGM Resorts International  (MGM) - Get MGM Resorts International Report, Wynn Resorts  (WYNN) - Get Wynn Resorts, Limited Report and Melco Resorts  (MLCO) - Get Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd. Report

Shares of all four casino operators were falling Friday.

Gross revenue from gambling fell 96.8% year over year to 754M patacas, or $95 million, in April, Macau's Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau said, the worst month on record, surpassing the 79.7% drop in March and an 88% slide in February. 

Analysts had forecast a 94% decline.

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The gaming results for April mark the seventh straight month of declining revenue for Macau, which has also suffered through a two-year-long trade war and Hong Kong protests.

Eighty percent of gaming tables had reopened in the region by mid-March, but there were few visitors as China continued its freeze on individual and group visas as part of measures to contain the coronavirus. Visitors from the Greater China region account for more than 90% of tourists to Macau.

The area's recovery was also hurt by a 14-day quarantine rule started in China's Guangdong province last week for individuals who arrive at its border checkpoints from Macau, Hong Kong or Taiwan

Steven Wieczynski, an analyst with Stifel, said that Las Vegas Sands' management "made it abundantly clear" that pent-up demand in Macau and Singapore should allow operations to bounce back relatively quickly once forced closures and travel restrictions are lifted.

Separately, J.P. Morgan on Friday reinstated its coverage of MGM Resorts  with a neutral rating and an $18 share-price target and predicted that the Las Vegas Strip would slowly recover from the coronavirus shutdown.

Analyst Joseph Greff said he thought the pace of visitation and spend recovery in Las Vegas will be much slower than in either the Macau or domestic regional casino markets.