MALAYSIAN casinos could take more than a year to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic, even if the deadly coronavirus is contained in the country, a new report has suggested.
Despite plans to resume business, the gaming sector could still take a hit from closed borders, safe distancing rules and plain old sentiment, Maybank Kim Eng analyst Samuel Yin warned.
Genting Malaysia - the operator of integrated resort Resorts World Genting - could see gross gaming revenue improve year on year in FY2021 but not reach pre-pandemic levels, he said.
The industry expects big spenders to focus on their own businesses, even as closed borders limit them to Malaysian casinos instead of Cambodia, the Philippines, Singapore and Australia.
“Our conversations with casino executives within and without Genting Malaysia reveal that gamblers are unlikely to return to FY2019 levels in FY2021 as long as the Covid-19 pandemic is still front and centre of gamblers’ minds,” Mr Yin added.
He noted that visitor arrivals had already started to fall in the early days of the pandemic, when the worst of the contagion was limited to mainland China. As such, a V-shaped recovery may be no guarantee while the virus continues to circulate worldwide, Mr Yin said, naming South Korea as a similar market to watch.