Casino hubs facing regulatory headwinds and strict coronavirus vaccination policies could have headwinds in 2022. That’s while regions that have higher vaccination rates and those making due with the pandemic should see smoother sailing in the new year.
Broadly speaking, the global gaming operating climate is improving, with those dependent on domestic visitors likely to surpass pre-pandemic gross gaming revenue (GGR) figures in 2022, according to Fitch Ratings. That rebound is already materializing in the US, as Nevada is on an impressive pace of $1 billion-plus GGR months, while some regional casino markets are on fire, too.
Jurisdictions with faster vaccination rollouts and ‘living with the coronavirus’ mentalities, like the United States, are experiencing stronger recoveries than those that rely on international visitation,” says Fitch.
During the pandemic’s early days, the consensus was that Asia-Pacific gaming markets would rebound more rapidly than the Las Vegas Strip and US regional casinos. But the opposite is proving true. Shares of Las Vegas and regional-heavy operators are among the best-performing gaming equities this year, while rivals dependent on Macau and other Asian markets are sagging.
Plenty of International Issues to Consider in 2022
While international GGR figures could perk up next year, Fitch sees an array of challenges facing operators in multiple regions outside the US.
“Regulatory uncertainty will be a key global theme in 2022. In Macau, concessions expire in June, and uncertainty remains on the concession rebidding process and future regulatory & operating structure,” said the research firm. “For Australia, license suitability is still overhanging both major operators. Restrictions on digital gaming, such as bet size and loss limits, are expected to continue in Europe.”