Macau Recovers Quickly: The latest figures from the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau showed that revenues from gaming in quarter one increased by 2.6% to MOP 3,204 billion compared to the same quarter last year. January was still quite a strong month in Macau in 2020 just before the pandemic hit and restrictions and lockdowns were imposed.
From January 2020 the steep decline in gaming revenues sent shock waves through the Macau economy which relies heavily on its casino gambling industry. So, the latest figures showing the strongest month since the pandemic begin is welcome news for all residents and casino operators. April took in USD$1.05 billion, an increase of 1.1% from March and taking a year period, it has increased by over 1,014% because of the low base from 2020.
Last April the gaming revenues dropped by a huge 97& to below $100million Financial analysts had estimated an increase of 1,054%. So, the recovery is on track and hopes of more Chinese being able to travel freely domestically will add to their optimism.
The news of Macau’s positive revival in the close to post-pandemic era will give UK casinos confidence as they prepare for their reopening in just 4 days’ time which will also see the revival of Evolution Dual play live roulette tables!
VIP Customers down from a Year Ago
The figures show another trend in the customer base for gamblers in Macau and that is that the big whales or VIP gamblers are a shrinking group whilst the mass market segment grows to supplant the revenues from these customers. Quarter to quarter there has been an increase in the revenues from VIP revenues by nearly 20% to $1.14 billion but from a year ago this is down by 38% showing the trend in how VIP casino guests is shrinking. VIP guests gamble millions and have dedicated rooms and casino access so have been the cash cows for Macau casinos for years.
Many of these VIPs travel to Macau to play Baccarat which predictably has seen its share of game time reduce with the shrinking number of VIPs. The game still accounts for 35% of the market but that is a falling percentage, perhaps players will see more choice on the casino floors in future rather than just row upon row of baccarat tables.
Mass market customers have grown by 2.1% from last quarter so, now make up 61.4% of the total market in Macau.
Tourists from China still face requirements for COVID-19 tests and tighter VISA issuance but early signs show hotel room bookings up and chartered flights to Macau from mainland China up by 60% in April from March. Hong Kong travellers have a different set of restrictions to enter Macau however, and a bubble between the 2 SARs would help Macau. Vaccinations is also a problem with only a small percentage of the population inoculated. Only 5 per cent of the population in Macau have been vaccinated as of the end of March and Hong Kong has an even lower percentage. Without a wider vaccination rollout, herd immunity will not be reached and the safety of residents will be at risk.
To get back to pre-pandemic levels, Macau needs to build its reputation as a safe destination for its tourists and importantly, for its residents.