The fact that in the first five months of the year the income of Las Vegas exceeded that of the Asian city, whereas before the pandemic the Chinese territory brought in six times more than that of the American state of Nevada , reflects “the great fall of Macau”. “, he underlined.
“It’s inconceivable. It’s hard to visualize what a huge fall it was. But if we go to see the casinos and the streets, we understand,” he added.
Since January 2020, as soon as the pandemic knocked on Macau’s door, the virus began to infect the economy, a weakness even more exposed to the zero-case policy, in line with Beijing, with strong border restrictions, forced quarantines and, more recently, with a new closure of casinos and a partial confinement that lasts a month and a half.
“Covid-19 has affected Macau, but oddly enough it’s been the worst year ever,” Sales Marques lamented.
worst year ever
“In 2019, we were absolute kings, we had six times more income than Las Vegas. We were at this very high level. And now we have ten times less income,” he pointed out, noting that the wealth of earnings in the gaming industry was also possible to observe in gross domestic product (GDP) “per capita,” which between 2019 and 2021 fell to almost half.
The figures show “the dimension of Macao’s internal and external dependencies”, he said. “Outside of Macau, and in addition to covid-19, there are two very important aspects to consider: capital flow control measures and crackdowns on the promotion of gambling” among high rollers in mainland China, he said. .
In other words, it was not only covid-19, but also a more aggressive control policy from Beijing to control capital outflows, with obvious impact on the VIP market.
With the new gambling law and the launch of the new tender for the allocation of six casino operating licenses, everything seems to be converging on one fact, he underlined: “Macau has a lot of work ahead of him and the great challenge of diversifying products and the market”.
If in 2001 there was an unknown market ahead, when the first licenses were granted, now authorities and operators are also experiencing “some uncertainty”, not least because “the model followed so far seems exhausted”, has he concluded.
Although the specifications of the tender are not known, the economist drew attention to the government’s emphasis on valuing the proposals which include the non-gaming aspect and “the great strength that ‘it brings to product and market diversification’.
After all, he defended himself, we expect a fall in the Chinese market, which has fed the gaming industry in Macau, and “you have to know how to mobilize customers for the game, but not only, who come other sources”.
But, he underlined, this work will not be easy, because, on the one hand, Macau was accustomed to the Chinese market, but, on the other hand, because in terms of tourism it has to rely on a Strong competition from other cities, such as Hong Kong and Guangzhou, shown.
“There is a lot of work to be done,” he stressed.
Public call for tenders for the allocation of six exploration permits
On Friday, the Macau government launched a public tender for the award of six casino gaming operating licenses, with a maximum term of ten years.
One of the points that will be valued by the Competition Commission concerns “plans to expand markets for customers abroad”.
Each of the competitors will have to pay a deposit of at least 10 million patacas (1.22 million euros).
Dealers in Macau, the gambling capital of the world and the only place in China where casino gambling is legal, are racking up unprecedented losses since 2020 and the government has been forced to resort to the extraordinary reserve to respond to the crisis, including because about 80% of government revenue comes from gambling taxes.
Three concessionaires operate in the territory, the Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, founded by tycoon Stanley Ho, Galaxy, Wynn, and three sub-concessionaires, MGM, Venetian and Melco.