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Macau Casinos Battle Falling GGR

Mia Gardner | 07 Jul 2020

A global crisis leading to a current economic recession easily capable of giving 2008 a run for its money has left Chinese gambling-haven Macau cash-strapped and pleading for better days. A recent report released by Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau reveals gross gaming income losses for casinos to the tune of 1 billion MOP per month since March this year. Macau for the month of June reported gross gaming income of only MOP $716 million (US$89.7 million), the lowest historical GGR reported in the history of Macau’s casino market. 

The first six months of 2020 saw Macau report gaming revenue to the tune of MOP $33.72 billion in total – this marks a worrying 77.4% decline when compared to the same period last year.

All Gaming – All The Time

Head of government Ho lat Seng in April went as far as to caution against Macau’s reliance on casinos as its sole economic contributor. And Macau may soon exactly how prophetic a piece of advice this had been as the University of Macau forecasts even darker days to come. The University of Macau said that the only way it pictures Macau crawling out from under its financial woes is by working toward the stabilisation of its local labour market so as to avoid any more unnecessary and excessive closures of businesses – and especially small-to-medium enterprises.

Once the market has been sufficiently stabilised, advised the university, the next step would be to start promoting economic recovery in terms of short-term improvements. A slow but steady approach, so say local economists, is the only way to ensure future significant economic declines.

Single Focus A Bad Idea

Macau’s main challenge is of course exactly that identified by government. Its entire economy relies on a single industry. This is not to say that Macau’s casino industry is an any way a worse an industry than what would have been any other alternative. The problem lies not with the nature of the industry, but rather with the risks associated with banking on a single economic sector to serve an entire GGR.

The casino industry is one of the industries hardest hit by the global health crisis – if not the hardest hit of all. Which is pretty much the same as saying that it will probably be some time yet before Macau will witness any form of long-term economic stability and relief.