Despite Stimulus on the Mainland, COVID-19 Gets Tougher on MacauPublished April 28, 2020 by Lee R
How Macau fares in light of the stimulus freeze-out can only be fully told on the front end.
It seems like ages ago that China's gambling mecca on the island of Macau was emerging as a sustainable jurisdiction after an era of crackdowns.
No Rescue in Sight
Now, a new age of shutdowns has brought about hopes of a better day.
However, that day will not becoming as soon as hoped, to the chagrin and even heartbreak of local operators and stakeholders.
That's because the 39 operators in China's sole gaming jurisdiction trying to come back from an earth-shattering near 80% drop in year-on-year aggregated gross gaming revenues for March are reportedly set to be excluded from an incoming $1.7 billion economic stimulus program.
Inside Asian Gaming delivered the brutal news, reporting that the Chinese government has declared that the new awards earmarked solely for residents and companies to “sustain employment and stimulate local demand in the wake of the global financial downturn caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic” will not apply to China's gaming sector, which is limited to Macau.
Awards, not Received
The details of the awards only make the irony more bitter, as it outlines what Macau has been frozen out of: $1.2 billion worth of subsidies for small to medium-sized enterprises on top of $450.8 million in electronic vouchers for local residents.
The government explained the decision by declaring saying that while the government does “appreciate gaming operators for not laying off employees and sustaining employees’ lives at a fair level,” the profits Macau's gaming companies had previously accumulated should now give them the ability “to maintain their operations and sustain employment.”
Autonomous in Word
In other words, the Chinese government has left Macau gaming operators to live off previous profits.
Placating the Locals
The exclusion was accepted bravely Macau Finance and Economy Secretary Lei Wai Nong:
“The government is tilted in favor of employees, residents and small to medium-sized enterprises at this time and we hope operators can understand. We will pass the winter and we believe the spring will come.”
Hopefully, Macau operators have as much faith, understanding and money as their Finance Secretary indicates. They are going to need it far more than the citizenry.