Macau casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) declined by 79.7 percent in March in year-on-year terms, but rose sharply judged month-on-month with February, when the city’s casinos were closed for 15 days to halt the spread locally of a novel coronavirus.
Such March GGR was just under MOP5.26 billion (US$658.3 million), according to data issued on Wednesday by the city’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, a body also known as DICJ.
Judged month-on-month relative to February, the March performance was up by 69.4 percent. In February Macau casino GGR tallied MOP3.10 billion, an 87.8 percent decline year-on-year.
The latest monthly result puts the Macau market’s accumulated 2020 year-on-year decline at 60.0 percent, to just under MOP30.49 billion.
The March GGR performance came against a background of sharply declining numbers of daily visitors judged year-on-year.
According to the city’s Public Security Police, Macau received around 230 visitors on Sunday and approximately 270 on Monday. In 2019 the statistical daily average was circa 108,000 tourist visitors per day, based on that year’s tally of 39.4 million arrivals as reported previously be the city’s Statistics and Census Service.
An industry consultant has suggested to GGRAsia that the reasoning for keeping Macau’s casinos open amid the ongoing Covid-19 crisis is now “social” – i.e., to protect local employment – rather than commercial.
The tourism decline has coincided with many layers of travel restrictions imposed by Macau and by governments outside, in order to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus and its associated Covid-19 infection.
Authorities in Macau’s neighbouring mainland province, Guangdong – normally an important feeder market for Macau tourism – implemented last week a 14-day quarantine requirement for people entering the province from Macau and Hong Kong.
Guangdong authorities said in a statement on March 26 that the province would start requiring all travellers coming from outside mainland China to undergo a 14-day quarantine at designated facilities, and to take a test checking for Covid-19 infection. Such conditions apply to people from Guangdong that have visited Macau and wish to return home.
Earlier last week, the Macau authorities announced more stringent entry limits for visitors arriving from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. That included a 14-day quarantine requirement for people arriving from Hong Kong.
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Vitaly Umansky, Louis Li and Kelsey Zhu
Analysts at brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd