Macau Casinos Continue To Struggle Amidst Coronavirus Pandemic

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Macau is one of the first regions to reopen its casino industry after it successfully contain the spread of the virus. However, despite the reopening, casinos are still reeling from the impact of the virus as almost all tables are still empty.

Market analysts reported a significant drop in gross gaming revenue in the region for the month of July. Statistics show that the region’s gaming revenues have dropped for ten consecutive months already. Moreover, the region’s gross gaming revenue has also dropped by more than 90% for four straight months now.

A bad spell for the casino industry

Macau reported that it lost more than $162 million in gaming revenues for the month of July alone. This represents a drop of 94.5%, following an even significant drop of 97% the month before. Many analysts have attributed this significant loss of revenue to the lockdown brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

Due to strict safety precaution, Macau was forced to close its borders in order to contain the spread of the virus. Now that the region has finally opened up, strict social distancing and health protocols are still in place in order to make sure that no new case will be made.

Among the protocols imposed by the government is enforced body check on all casino entrances. All tables and slot machines are also required to follow physical distancing protocols, a measure that forced casinos to operate at half of their capacity.

Macau officials reported that for the first seven months of the year, the region’s gross gaming revenue fell by 79.7% or around $4.4 billion. Despite the confidence that the region has completely controlled the spread of the virus, tourist arrival are still at an all-time low.

Chinese are the most predominant tourists in Macau. Despite the fact that China has already contained the virus in the country, there are still travel restrictions both into and outside of the country. According to Macau’s Statistics and Census Bureau, tourist arrival to the region has dropped by a massive 83.9% during the first half of the year alone.

A sign of hope in the gaming industry

While the casino industry is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, a small glimmer of hope is showing in the gaming industry. Macau plans to resume the issuance of tourist visa in order to boost its local gaming industry.

China is slowly opening up its borders and this is a good sign for Macau as tourist may soon be allowed to enter the region. Furthermore, China is expected to resume the issuance of non-tourist visa for the whole country starting August 12. Analysts are expecting the same for Macau sometime this month or in August.

The casino industry is among the hardest hit during this pandemic. Even Las Vegas, the mecca of gambling, is still reeling from the loss.

Even though the city has already allowed the reopening of casinos, foot traffic is still relatively minimal and casino capacity are strictly regulated due to physical distancing protocols.

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