Macau's gambling revenues dive 72.5% in Oct

This picture taken on Sept 20, 2020 shows high speed ferries, which run services between Hong Kong and Macau, docked at Yau Ma Tei typhoon shelter in Hong Kong. Rare Chinese white dolphins - known locally as 'pink dolphins' - are returning to the waters between Hong Kong and Macau after the coronavirus pandemic halted ferries, but scientists remain deeply concerned about their long-term survival in one of the world's busiest sea lanes. - AFP

HONG KONG, Nov 2 (Reuters): Gambling revenue in Macau plunged 72.5% in October year-on-year, extending the steep coronavirus-driven declines of recent months but at a slower pace as visitors to the world's biggest casino hub from mainland China picked up slightly.

October's figure of 7.3 billion patacas (US$914 million) released by Macau's government on Sunday, was in line with analyst expectations of a drop of around 72%-74%.

Gaming revenues have slumped since February due to coronavirus travel restrictions with the last six months posting an over 90% drop.

China resumed Macau tourist visas from Sept 23 but demand has remained tepid due to ongoing coronavirus regulations and muted sentiment from VIP high rollers to gamble.

Fears China is broadening a crackdown on offshore gambling have sparked a rush to withdraw billions of dollars in Macau, threatening a recovery in the coronavirus-stricken economy, executives say.

However, Macau’s recovery from Covid-19 curbs has been slow after China gradually lifted travel restrictions, says Bloomberg.

Mainland Chinese visitor arrivals during Golden Week in early October were down 84% from a year earlier. However, gamblers are starting to return in volume as a visa backlog clears.

Toward the end of October, the number of visitors increased, but it’s still far away from our normal level,” said Joe Liu, director of the city’s largest e-payment company Macau Pass S.A., which is accepted in more than 18,000 locations including restaurants and retail outlets.

But he said the visitors returning first are the high-spending customers who don’t hold back. "They shop and eat crazily.”

Analysts say the key to a continued recovery will be a streamlining of the visa-issuance process and virus-testing requirements, which currently hinder mainland tourists from visiting Macau.
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Macau. Economy , Slow Recovery


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