Why Are Macau Casinos Struggling in Pandemic Recovery?
Macau casinos generated MOP$3.67bn ($459m) last month, down 86% from March 2019. Nevada recorded $1.1bn in gaming revenue in February, the 12th consecutive month that Nevada casinos generate more than $1000m. Las Vegas Strip revenue is up 10% over pre-pandemic levels in 2019, up from $800m in 2013.
Macau's visitor numbers are on the rise, but still short of 2019's figure. Most of the visitors came from mainland China. The total of 86,179 Korean travelers dried up due to restrictions. Macau government has managed to keep the pandemic at bay, with just 82 confirmed local cases since the crisis began.
Travel restrictions have taken an impact on Macau's high roller business. Clampdown on junket operators brought in big spenders from mainland China to play in Macao's VIP rooms has also hurt the business, as well as sent Macaese casino stock downwards. After the arrest of Alvin Chau Cheok-wa, the shares of Wynn Macas dropped 10%, while Sands China and Galaxy Entertainment Group shares fell by almost 8%.
All six Macau casino concessionaires have applied for extension of their gaming licenses for a further six months this year. Some are doubling down on their investment in the Asian gambling hub. Las Vegas Sands, for instance, no longer has any US-based casinos after closing the sale of the Venetian, Palazzo and the VENETTIAN Expo Center in February.