The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau in the Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China Macau released revenue figures from games of fortune for March, posting gross gaming revenue (GGR) of MOP8.31 billion ($1.04 billion).
Far from Pre-Closure Levels
March GGR represented an increase of 13.6% to the MOP7.31 billion the gaming industry in Macau generated in February, but only a 3.5% increase to the MOP8.02 billion posted in January.
Compared to revenues from the last month prior to the casino closures in the SAR, January 2020 which showed MOP22.13 billion in GGR, the latest figures suggest the long-awaited industry rebound is not happening.
The accumulated gross revenue measure used by the gaming bureau came out at MOP23.64 billion, 22.5% less compared to the cumulative revenues for the first 3 months of 2020, MOP30.49 billion, but still, such a comparison could be misleading due to the majority of the 2020 revenue, MOP22.13 billion, generated prior to the casino closures in February.
Casinos in Macau had to close doors for 15 days to curb any further spread of the coronavirus infection, but even after they re-opened for business, global traveling restrictions and local ones imposed from the government on mainland China restricting access to the gambling hub, impeded footfall for the casinos and materially impacted financial performance for the entire year.
There were reports in January 2021 that some of the casino operators in Macau asked their staff to take unpaid leave, seeking to extend furlough into 2021 to help soften the long-lasting effect of the coronavirus outbreak.
The revenue report released by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau for December confirmed the gambling industry in Macau experienced its worst year in 2020, as revenues crashed down 79.3% to MOP60.44 billion compared to the MOP292.45 billion the year before.
Sands China, the Asian subsidiary of Las Vegas Sands operating casino properties in Macau and Singapore, saw its 2020 revenue plummet by 80.8% as the operator finished the year with $1.52 billion in losses.
Sinking revenues by 69.9% leading to a loss of $1.26 billion were the financial result for another of the 6 casino operators in the SAR, Melco Resorts and Entertainment.
Chinese authorities eased travel restrictions for people willing to visit Macau but then introduced a legal amendment to outlaw organized trips abroad for gambling purposes, including to Macau, essentially hitting on junket operations and stripping casino operators in the SAR from their high-roller business segment.
Macau Government expressed willingness to cooperate with mainland China to enforce the law which entered into force March 1, looking to reposition the gambling hub as a family tourist destination.