Casinos in Macau have been hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic, much like any other land-based gambling area in the world. Even though things looked a bit better in December 2020, the big picture wasn’t as good.
Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DJC) releases figures for every month, and the ones released in December gave a bit of hope to operators. The popular China’s administrative region reported total gaming revenue of MOP7.8 billion, which is approximately $978 million in December. Compared to the same period last year, there’s a decrease of 65.8%.
But despite the depressing numbers, December was still much better than some other months in 2020. For example, all casinos had to close their doors in February 2020, which resulted in one of the worst months for Macau. Also, the December numbers reported a 16% gain in comparison to the previous month. That still counts as an improvement, although not a very satisfying one.
Macau will take a lot of time to recover financially from this. Still, the numbers regarding occupancy weren’t that bad at all. The Macao Government Tourist Office released data for December, which reported 70% occupancy during Christmas. The average number of daily visitors was 24,503, which was an improvement compared to the first 22 days of December when that figure was 20,385.
After December’s total revenue was counted, the annual comparison could be made. Casinos in Macau earned approximately 79.3% less compared to their revenue in 2019. It’s safe to say that the year 2020 was one of the worst for the popular Chinese destination.
This is also the second consecutive year, where Macau reported negative growth. In 2019, that was due to the heavy regulations imposed by Beijing. However, the only thing to blame in 2020 was the coronavirus pandemic that befell the world and took its toll.
Future Remains Uncertain for Macau
Macau recently imposed bans on visitors from mainland China who visited a foreign country in the past three weeks. With this ban and the raging pandemic in the world, the near future doesn’t look bright for the popular gambling destination.
On top of that, Beijing recently came up with new amends to criminal law, which proposes very stiff penalties for casino junket operators. Both of these things could also affect Macau’s plans for long-term growth and slow them down a bit.
Still, it’s almost certain that 2021 will look better than 2020 when it comes to Macau, as the vaccines against the coronavirus are now administered in the entire world, and China is already deep into vaccinating its population. Hopefully, Macau could return to its default mode of operation soon and start receiving plenty of visitors once again.
Still, Beijing’s war on cross-border money movement could impact one of the main sources of income to Macau casinos — VIP gambling.
Macau has a tough period ahead, but it’s safe to say that it survived the worst.