Macao's hoped-for lift in casino revenue didn't materialize in November, as monthly gross gaming revenue (GGR) came in at 6.75 billion patacas, or $845 million, a 70.5% decline from last year and a 7% sequential drop from October (patacas are Macao's local currency).

Because China had loosened restrictions on travel into and out of Macao from the mainland, and the gambling district had seen some slight improvement into the region last month, analysts had expected revenue to continue to see gains, but that has not happened.

Darkened casino table game

Image source: Getty Images.

A longer time to recovery than expected

During Wynn Resorts(NASDAQ:WYNN) third-quarter earnings conference call last month, CEO Matt Maddox said the resort operator was starting to see trends improve in October that were separate from China's national Golden Week holiday, which was responsible for most of the gains.

He noted mass market table drop, or the amount of money bet on table games, had grown to 40% of the levels seen before the COVID-19 pandemic, while the VIP side of the business was 25% to 30% of previous levels. It was a good start toward recovery.

Yet that seems to have stalled in November. Year-to-date GGR is down over 80% to 52.6 billion patacas.

Analysts at J.P. Morgan deemed the November numbers "not terrible, but not good either," and pointed out the month "failed to deliver much-anticipated sequential recovery in GGR versus October."

Analysts had been forecasting a 60% decline in GGR, which some are now tentatively pushing back to December.

Las Vegas Sands is going all in on a recovery in Macao, as it contemplates selling off its Las Vegas properties and focusing solely on Asia.