Macau Asia’s gambling hub became a ghost town after coronavirus lockdowns as it saw a severe downfall of customers. 

Tourism and gambling (pokies and otherwise) have both shrank 49% in the first quarter of this year. As Macau is heavily dependent on these two, the pandemic period for this hub was critical.

The beginning of pandemic

After a 15-day shutdown in February, other casino online operators were permitted to reopen. Meanwhile, Macau was virtually deserted as no tourists were allowed to enter. Visitors from China make up more than 90% of Macau’s vacationists, major casino operators have a spot here: which is a spot here: Sands, Wynn, Galaxy and MGM. Numbers of Macau’s visitors for the first half of the year are down 84% compared to 2019. Investment bank Morgan Stanley stated that casinos in Macau could rack up losses up to $1bn over the April to June quarter. 

Bringing back the customers

Macau authorities announced they will start handing out tourist visas to bring gamblers back. 

Visas for both individuals and group tours from mainland China will be restored in phases. Therefore, authorities did not respond when permits will be made available to tourists wanting to travel to Macau from outside China.

Macau’s Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture confirmed that the city is working with mainland authorities to resume the full visa programme. Of course, this idea could be interrupted if virus transmissions return. 

According to Daiwa Capital Markets analysts, Andrew Chung and Terry Ngthe resumption of visas will not have a significant impact immediately on gaming revenue in August, said, adding they expect it to continue to be down 90 per cent.

“We expect the entire Guangdong province to be the following which resumes t IVS, and then followed by provinces without new confirmed cases. We would like to note that 14 out of the 19 provinces with IVS eligible cities did not have any new confirmed cases,” they wrote.

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