Macau Revenues Fall off the Cliff, and No One Seems to Care Right NowPublished May 8, 2020 by Lee R
Though the curve is flattening, the end is not in sight for Macau gaming.
Perhaps no region has been harder hit by COVID-19 than Macau.
In the only jurisdiction in China that allows gambling, revenue from Macau casinos continued a steady and abrupt decline in April.
Barely Discernible Revenues
The totals for the month reached record lows for revenue of MOP754m (£76.0m/€86.6m/$95.1m) for a painful but unfortunately not surprising 96.8% year-on-year drop from April 2019.
Down for Two Months
The total was also down a significant 85% from March despite being closed for good stretches of that month; April was also down 75.7% from February when casinos were shuttered for 14 full days, or half the month.
The April drop was led by the March 25th decision requiring all arriving non-residents to Macau to self-isolate for 14 days, which put tourism on ice.
The paltry April totals brought Macau’s gambling revenue for the year to MOP31.24bn, for a 68.0% drop from Q1 2019, with over two thirds of revenue contributed in the month of January.
After being famously denied billions in government stimulus benefits, Macau’s head of government, Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng came out critical in an annual policy report of his country's “excessive dependence” upon the gambling industry. This dependence left the special administrative region particularly vulnerable, as evinced by economic crisis resulting from the coronavirus outbreak.
The chief executive further criticized prior efforts of Macau governments to diversify economically with “no noticeable results.”
At the time of this writing, gaming still represents over half of the region's economy, but this is hardly something to hold Macau to account for. The fact is the shutdowns have left a lot of individuals out of work, and reduced the availability of a key pastime that stakeholders in and around the region have come to rely on.
At this point, resuscitation seems a far more practical treatment than abandonment or admonishment. The revenue ledger is penalty enough.