Casinos in Macau Are Facing Diffucilties Ahead the Year End

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Casinos in Macau suffered their worst month of the year in October, with the world's largest gambling centre reporting a 40% drop in gaming revenue following a pandemic-related travel stop and uncertainty around increased government regulation of the business.

According to the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, gross gaming income fell to 4.37 billion patacas ($545 million), the lowest monthly figure this year. Even so, it was better than the consensus expert forecast of a 42 percent drop year over year.

Revenue dropped 26% from the previous month and was down 83 percent from the year before the outbreak.

Key Takeaways

The comeback of Macau casinos was stymied in October by new travel restrictions imposed by the Chinese government.

  • The recovery of Macau casinos was hampered in October by stricter travel restrictions imposed by China, the city's largest supply of tourists, following unusual Covid-19 flareups in the city. The quarantine restriction for visitors entering the mainland from Macau was not abolished until October 19 — and that included the seven-day national "Golden Week" vacation, which began on October 1 and is normally a busy travel season.
  • According to government figures, Macau had only 8,159 visitors over Golden Week, a 95 percent decrease from the previous year. While tourists began to return after travel restrictions were loosened, a Covid resurgence in mainland China later this month has prompted the enclave to compel visitors to undergo quarantine.
  • From November 2, Hong Kong, the second-largest tourist source, will restart a quarantine exemption for arrivals from Macau. Nonetheless, Macau maintains its quarantine requirement for visitors from Hong Kong, leaving the future impact on tourism to the casino centre unknown.
  • The most pressing issues in Macau continue to revolve around a government proposal to reform its gaming law in September, which has sparked fears that authorities may tighten their grip on casinos, including their operations and earnings sharing. The 45-day public and industry consultation period, during which the public and business may provide ideas to officials on how to alter the guidelines, closed on Friday. 
  • During the meeting, authorities insisted that sending government agents to personally oversee casino owners would have no impact on company operations. Other suggestions, such as increasing local ownership in enterprises and approving dividend payouts, are intended to guarantee that operators focus on investing in Macau and using earnings to help the city diversify its economy.
Jonathan Mann
Founder & CEO
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