Macau’s casinos have worst month since records began

Jon Pill
Published by:
Posted on: August 12, 2022 11:49 am EDT

Macau has reported its worst month of gambling revenues since records began way back in 2009. The casinos reported just 398 million Macanese patacas ($49.3 million) in takings for the whole of July 2022.

For comparison, the amount of gambling revenue reported in July 2021 by the Macanese casino came to 8.44 billion Macanese patacas or about $1.05 billion in U.S. fiat. That makes this year’s July numbers a year-on-year drop of 95%.

The reasons for such an astonishing drop are not necessarily indicative of wider economic trends. The U.S. is on the verge of declaring an official recession in the wake of COVID and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

However, Macau’s troubles are the same that they have been for the last three years — mainland China and the COVID pandemic.

China’s crackdowns on junkets and money laundering have both had a long term impact on Macau. Much of the SAR’s foot traffic comes from the mainland. For similar reasons, pandemic shutdowns in Guangdong and Hong Kong have also taken their toll. For Macau, the biggest problem in July 2022, was Macau’s own internal COVID policy.

The government shut down most recreational businesses in late-June after it identified community infections of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Macau’s casinos joined the shutdown list on July 11. There have been 1,300 cases in Macau since mid-June.

That meant casinos were open for just a week and half before the total lockdown kicked in on July 11. And that week and a half was spent with greatly reduced visitor numbers in a city usually busy and bright enough to be known as the Vegas of the East.

After the period of closure, the casinos were looking forward to a brief opening up at just 50% capacity for the last week of the month.

Casinos are now open but without a greater sense of security, visitors are not yet returning in any great numbers. Berenstein Research is predicting August will be down 89% on last year’s GGR and as the government of Macau has extended the deadline for its concession negotiations once again.

Most casinos will still be coasting on the significant takings from Golden Week in May well into Q3.

Featured image source: Flickr, used under CC License