Coronavirus woes continue to thwart the revival of betting action in Macau, the world’s biggest gambling hub.
Overall, in a year-to-year comparison ending this August, gaming revenues have crashed by over 80 percent in the Special Administrative Region, formerly a Portuguese colony.
According to data released today by Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (GICB), in August alone earnings fell by a massive 94.5 percent compared to August, 2019: plummeting to MOP1.33bn (£124.4m/€139.5m/US$167m). July’s figures showed a similar drop.
Despite a loosening of quarantine restrictions by the mother country, Macau’s casinos are still suffering from a lack of visitors. Only 7,000 punters were recorded in the last week of August, compared to around 100,000 in 2019.
Gross gaming revenues for the first eight months of this year decreased by 81.6 percent year-on-year to MOP36.3bn (£3.4bn/€3.81bn/US$4.55bn) and have fallen by an average of 90 per a month since April.
Supporting data from the Macau Statistic Bureau shows the island’s GDP declined by 67.8 percent in Q2 2020, as exports of gaming services fell by 97.1 percent year-on-year.
This followed a 48.7 percent, year-on-year, decline in GDP in the first quarter of the year. At the end of Q2, Macau University predicted a GDP decline of between 55.7 percent and 59.1 percent.
In further hard detail, casino resort Studio City International Holdings reported a US$161.9m (MOP1.3bn/£120.88m/€135.8m) net loss for the first half of the year as operating revenue fell 91.8 percent to US$24.7m (MOP197m/£18.44m/€20.72m).
The Galaxy Entertainment Group, meanwhile, saw revenue for the six months to end June drop 76.3 percent to HKD$6.01bn (MOP6.19bn/£591.7m/€654.5m/US$774.9m).
Macau, the gambling “Pearl of the Orient” has 41 casinos, boasting 6,756 tables and 17,348 slot machines.
Perhaps too many hands to be dealt and too many hands to be pulled in an age of lockdown and pan(dem)ic.