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Omicron Surge Unlikely to Dissuade Gambling In Malaysia

According to a note issued by Malaysia’s Maybank Investment Bank Research, the sudden rise in the number of COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant is not likely to trigger a drop in the number of gamblers or result in additional lockdown scenarios.

Low Risk of Health Complications Brings Optimism to Gamblers

According to analyst Samuel Yin Shao Yang, the fear of Omicron has been alleviated by the reports coming from other worldwide gaming jurisdictions that had already experienced similar COVID-19 outbreaks. In spite of nearly 28,000 new cases reported mid-week, Maybank continues to maintain its positive estimates regarding earnings from gambling.

Malaysians are also keeping their optimism and expressing their active interest in gambling, provided the risk of developing severe or deadly health complications from infection remains low. Following the example of nations like the US, Australia, and the UK where recreational activities, retail, and gambling only suffered a minor hit in December and January in spite of the explosion of Omicron cases, Yang is projecting similar effects in the country.

Even more, in the same context of the rising number of cases in Nevada, the gross gaming revenues of casinos on the Las Vegas Strip kept growing at a steady and strong pace. In the context of new Omicron cases surging and reaching record high numbers, the mortality rate remains low. It could be argued that gamers are comforted by the thought that the risk of serious or potentially deadly health complications is at an all-time low compared to other COVID-19 variants.

Maybank Is Keeping the “Buy” Rating on Gaming Stocks

Maybank, the largest banking and financial services group in the South East Asia region expressed its cautionary optimism regarding Malaysians’ desire to keep engaging in different forms of gambling in spite of the Omicron wave that has taken over the country. Accordingly, Maybank has maintained its “Buy” rating on gaming stocks in the country, including Genting Malaysia and Genting Berhad.

According to UOB Kay Hian’s analysts Jack Goh and Vincent Khoo, gaming earnings in the country were expected to rebound by the end of 2021 while the revenue strength was projected to go back to the pre-pandemic levels over the course of 2022 and 2023, in spite of the harsh lockdown measures that were still in place. The two analysts also believed gaming stocks could go back to higher payout levels between 3.9% and 7.8% while generating steady cash flows during 2022 and 2023.

In the context of Malaysia’s National Recovery Council deciding to fully reopen the country’s borders to international travelers starting March 1 following a zero-quarantine policy, foreign tourists are expected to flock to the country’s resorts and casinos. Genting Malaysia Bhd’s Resorts World Genting is prepared to welcome global travelers with premier casino operations and resort services. The resort also offers gambling services in the US, Egypt, Bahamas, and the UK.