Macau casinos won a measly MOP3.0 billion (US$375.9 million) last month.
A nearly 56% year-over-year decline, November’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) is further proof that China’s commitment to “zero-COVID” will continue to inhibit any meaningful gaming business recovery in what was the world’s richest gaming market until such restrictive conditions are eased.
Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau disclosed that the region’s six commercial casino operators continue to struggle amid draconian COVID-19 measures. Though only a small percentage of infected persons during the latest outbreak across China are presenting complications from the coronavirus, the Communist Party is ordering lockdowns in major cities in an effort to curb the skyrocketing case counts.
Macau has ordered all residents to undergo daily COVID-19 testing through at least Friday, December 2. Macau is adhering to Beijing’s “zero-COVID” policy despite the health emergency measure battering the region’s economy.
Billions Lost in November Alone
Macau’s November casino revenue of only $375.9 million was a 23% drop from October 2022 and is 87% below — or about $2.47 billion short — of the $2.85 billion that the same six casino firms won in pre-pandemic November 2019.
The nearly $2.5 billion in reduced gaming is only what the multibillion-dollar resorts missed out on from their gaming floors. The casinos lost many more millions of dollars from their hotel rooms, restaurants, spas, and entertainment facilities being predominantly vacant last month.
Inside Asian Gaming founder Andrew Scott wrote Thursday morning that 2022 Macau casino GGR through 11 months is less than a third of what the local government forecast before the campaign. While other major gaming markets quickly rebounded from the pandemic, most notably Nevada where the state’s casinos have won at least $1 billion in each of the previous 20 months, “zero-COVID” has continued to keep Macau quiet nearly three years after the coronavirus become a global worry.
Year-to-date, 2022 Macau casino revenue totals approximately $4.8 billion. That’s 51% lower than at this time last year and 86% less compared with January through November 2019. The latter represents a GGR difference of about $28.8 billion.
Zero Evidence ‘Zero-COVID’ Ending
A “zero-COVID” scenario where a country as large as China is free of any active infections of the virus is considered an unrealistic goal by most health officials outside of China President Xi Jinping’s inner circle. Protests have sprung up in several major mainland cities, prompting a stern authoritative response from Beijing.
For now, there appears to be no end in sight for “zero-COVID.” About 50 cities in China are currently under a lockdown of some sort, affecting approximately 410 million people.
Xi’s party said in recent days that the country’s COVID strategy remains intact despite widespread protests. And in recent days, the Community Party’s newspaper, the People’s Daily, published a series of commentaries highlighting the importance of continuing to adhere to strict prevention controls.
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