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Macau Casino Revenues Drop 81% Due to China Restrictions

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Macau Casino Revenues Drop 81% Due to Covid-19 Restrictions

Although Macau reopened its casinos after almost two weeks of closure due to virus curbs in China, the outlook for the gambling industry remains grim due to Beijing’s zero-Covid policy.

During the initial resumption period, there are no official guidelines on casinos’ capacity. However, they will probably not open many tables due to a lack of customers, said Stephen Lau, president of the Power of Macao Gaming Association.

The organization represents gaming industry workers.

Despite the restart, Macau’s six licensed casino operators will still burn through millions of dollars daily as China’s suspension of quarantine-free travel discourages tourists from visiting the enclave.

The lockdown and mass testing have helped curb the spread of Coronavirus locally, and authorities want to reopen the border if infections hold near zero.

The city of Macau, home to 650,000 people, reported five cases of Covid-19 on Saturday, compared with 146 at its peak.

There will be restrictions on staff numbers at casinos and other businesses, as well as disinfection of venues. Activities requiring mask removal for long periods, including eating, should not be done indoors unless separate rooms are available for each person. Restaurant dining remains prohibited.

Macau Bars and Nightclubs Remain Closed

A passenger capacity cap of 60% was also imposed on public transportation. All bars, cinemas, nightclubs, and malls, except street-level shops, will be closed. There will be an initial phase of resumption until July 29.

“There won’t be any tourists here,” Lau said. It could take until the middle or end of August before tourists return.

Macau’s gaming revenues plunged by 46% in the first half of this year. The territory, the only legal gambling area in China, has been subject to repeated lockdowns and travel restrictions since outbreaks erupted there in March. Macau saw its own flare-up in June and entered a shutdown from July 11.

Morgan Stanley analysts estimate that the gaming industry will only collect $7 billion in revenue this year, which would be 35% lower than last year and 81% below the pre-pandemic level.