After the earnings reports from Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts International (NYSE:MGM), and Wynn Resorts, no one was thinking the July gambling revenue numbers out of Macao were going to be any good, but the fact they fell another 94.5% in the month suggests the casino operators' recovery is still well off in the distance.

The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau said gross revenue from games of fortune plunged to just 1.34 billion patacas (the local Macao currency, the equivalent of $168 million) from 24.4 billion last year. It's the fourth consecutive month gambling revenue has been down over 90% year over year.

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Odds are against a quick recovery

MGM Resorts tried to reassure investors that while the near-term outlook is difficult, its long-term business viability remains intact. Analysts seem to agree, slightly revising lower their outlook for this year, but expecting revenue to double next year and then rise 20% the year after. Yet if gambling remains suppressed in Macao, Wall Street may need to revise their numbers again.

Because the coronavirus pandemic began in China, China was the first country to impose travel restrictions. Casinos in Macao were closed for two weeks in February. When they reopened, despite social distancing protocols in place, tight controls were still placed on people traveling into and out of the peninsula. Those restrictions remain in place today. Analysts hope for regulators to ease up on travel either this month or in September.

Year-to-date gambling revenue is down 80% in Macao, but global resort operators still need to contend with the lack of recovery in the stateside travel and tourism industry, which could hamper their own rebound.

 
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