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Macau government eases transit visa policy

The Macau government has announced a reversal of the previously tightened transit visa policy, which was first put in place on July 1, 2014. 

The new policy, effective from July 1, 2015, will see the length of stay extend for Chinese using passports to enter Macau via transit visas, from five days to seven for the first visit, and from one day to two for second visit. The time needed to "reset" the visa also changes from 60-days back to 30. 

UBS analysts said the changes are positive to high frequency gaming demand as gamblers across segments can now visit twice every 30 days as opposed to twice every 60 days. 

“It is also easier to travel via passport vs. [individual visit scheme] (e.g. no need to travel to hometown etc). Macau GGR run rate has dropped 45% from peak, of which we believe majority is driven by macro & political factors; while visa changes could have accounted for 5-10% of the slowdown and might now come back.”

But UBS said a caveat on its estimates is that non-IVS/non-group tour visitations was already stronger in April to May, reflecting some informal relaxation had already taken place, while GGR continued to disappoint through April to June.

“A significant turn from a tightening regulatory cycle? We believe the policy's significance lies in a potential turning of the govt's regulatory cycle- it should remove the overhang in the market that the Central/Macau govt will actively pursue policies to further "hurt" the industry.”

Asia Gaming Brief is a news and intelligence service providing up to date market information for worldwide executives on relevant gaming issues in Asia.

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