Mac-OW: Something Needs to Give in the Former Gambling Mecca to Restart Revenues

Published September 12, 2020 by Lee R

Mac-OW: Something Needs to Give in the Former Gambling Mecca to Restart Revenues

New measures in Macau are hopefully productive solutions, but only time will tell.

Macau is open for business, but like many of us still feeling the hurt from Covid.

Elusive Recovery

The once thriving mecca is scraping to restart economically under the specter of a continued pandemic, something which is being shown worldwide to be anything but straightforward.

Macau's Overreliance?

Macau relied heavily on gambling, but Covid hit all sectors hard: the thing about Macau is that it is disproportionately vested in iGaming, which was a good thing until the pandemic hit,

Recovery Programming

Status quo efforts to resuscitate the local economy have proven futile, as underscored by Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau DICJ figures indicating a seemingly insurmountable amount of recovery still ahead.

Eleven Month Spiral

With Macau showing August gross gaming revenue (GGR) down an encompassing 95% year-on-year, the latest month's drop actually culminates what has turned into an eleven month down cycle that put the local casino industry in need of some recovery activity before Covid dropped the other shoe.

Ugly August and July

The painful DICJ reported August total of $166 million was in line sequentially, after a brutal July take of $167 million proved a year-on-year drop of 94.5%.

Trending Downward

This also culminates a corona-based five month trend of 80% plus monthly drops, bringing the greater downward spiral of gaming in Macau down 81.6% year-on-year for the first 8 months of 2020, all the way down to $4.55 billion from the $24.78 billion Macau reported in the same period for 2019.

Recovery Program

As for a formal recovery infrastructure, the Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) program providing Chinese nationals with easy access to Macau halted in January due to COVID-19 is currently being resuscitated with the permission of Guangdong province residents to re-apply for IVS as of August 12, with the first request expected to be approved this week.

The hope is to expand the IVS program to other cities by September 23.


Measures being undertaken include diversifying the appeal of Macau as a tourist destination above and beyond from gambling is already underway. While no one can predict the future of this era, it is certainly safe to say Macau is going to have a new look, regardless of how successful or rapid the recovery of the overall economy is.

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