JP Morgan Securities Asia Pacific analysts said in a note this week that Macao’s daily run-rate of roughly US$5.4 million (MOP 43.4 million) in casino win last month was the same as July’s, calling the figure “disappointing”. The analysts said a shrinkage in VIP gambling was the likely culprit, Devin O’Connor of Casino.org quoted them as saying on Tuesday.
The three analysts – DS Kim, Derek Choi and Jeremy An – noted that VIP demand also seems to have contracted in recent weeks, as junkets operators and gamblers “kept a low profile amidst stepped-up scrutiny on capital control and overseas gambling.”
According to statistics released by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) on Tuesday, Macao’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) fell 94.5 per cent year-on-year to MOP 1.33 billion (US$167 million) in August
Month-to-month, casino receipts were down 1.04 per cent.
In the first eight months of the year, the sector’s revenues generated by games of chance fell 81.6 per cent year-on-year to MOP 36.39 billion.
August recorded the industry’s third lowest takings this year, after April (MOP 754 million) and June (MOP 716 million).
August marked the fifth consecutive month where Macao’s casinos suffered at least 90 per cent year-on-year decrease. August was also the 11th straight month of GGR loss, O’Connor pointed out.
Macao’s gross gaming revenue began to decline drastically in February. The first COVID-19 case was recorded in the city on January 22. A total of 46 cases have been recorded since then, none of them fatal. All the patients have been cured and discharged from hospital. Unlike Hong Kong, Macao has not recorded a community outbreak of the contagious disease. At the end of June, Macao’s population – comprising residents and non-resident workers – stood at 685,400, according to the Statistics and Census Bureau (DSEC).
Due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Macao imposed strict entry curbs and quarantine regulations early this year. However, the entry curbs on mainland Chinese visitors have been gradually relaxed since last month and are slated to be further eased late this month.
Foreign nationals without a residency permit in Macao have been barred from entering Macao since early this year. Due to Macao’s strict adherence to the “One China” policy, there have been special entry regulations for compatriots from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Macao’s six gaming operators (three concessionaires and three subconcessionaires) own 41 casinos. The operations of three casinos, all of them owned by SJM, have been suspended for quite a while.
At the end of June, the gaming sector had 57,459 full-time employees, including 25,344 dealers (croupiers), according to the DSEC data. The sector employed about 14 per cent of Macao’s total workforce of 406,500 in the May-July employment survey period, the data showed.