Posted on: July 1, 2022, 09:55h.
Last updated on: July 1, 2022, 01:34h.
Macau casinos in June experienced their worst monthly revenue performance since September 2020.
June gross gaming revenue (GGR) totaled just MOP2.48 billion (US$310 million), 26% lower than May and a 62% drop from June 2021. To highlight the impact COVID-19 has had on the six casino operators, Macau GGR in June 2019 totaled nearly $3 billion.
Through the first half of 2022, Macau casinos have won approximately $3.25 billion from gamblers. Through the first half of 2019, the same six gaming giants reported a GGR of more than $18.5 billion.
Shares of the US-traded casino operators licensed in Macau — Sands, Melco, MGM, and Wynn — were all lower during Friday morning trading on the June revenue report.
Macau casinos remain vacant because of the enclave’s adherence to China’s “zero COVID” policy. The Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) has been far from zero of late, as a COVID-19 outbreak in the region has infected more than 630 people.
Prior to its June outbreak, Macau had managed to keep its roughly 45-square-mile region free of the coronavirus.
Back on Lockdown
China and Macau differ greatly from how much of the rest of the world is going about handling the ongoing presence of the COVID-19 virus in 2022. While life in many countries, including the US, has largely returned to normal, China and Macau continue to take drastic steps to try and contain the disease.
More than 20 neighborhoods in Macau are currently on lockdown, residents are told not to leave their dwellings other than for essential reasons. Macau health officials say the latest variant — dubbed BA.5.1 Omicron — is perhaps the most contagious strain of the virus to date.
Macau even destroyed 220 pounds of mangos this week that were imported from Taiwan after a sample of the fruit tested positive for COVID-19. No mangos will be imported from Taiwan for at least a week, the enclave announced.
The government and Sands China are offering lodging for asymptomatic patients at the casino operator’s Sheraton Grand Macau property. The quarantine offering is to relocate infected individuals to the designated recovery hotel to hopefully prevent the spread of the virus to family members.
Open, But Empty
With the coronavirus raging across Macau, the region’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau this week directed the six casinos to send most of their employees home. The gaming regulator told its concession holders to reduce their number of employees to around 10% of their typical staffing levels.
Inside Asian Gaming reports that some of the casinos have placed such workers on unpaid leave through July 8, while others are paying half of their typical wages amid the furloughs.
The media outlet says gaming checks this week counted less than 10 tables in operation at several downtown Macau casinos. During non-pandemic times, such casinos would typically offer hundreds of table games, most being baccarat, the game of choice in town.
Much of Macau is currently on lockdown. But the local government has sought to keep its casinos open, as gaming employs more workers than any other sector in the region. However, with the virus raging on, government officials are beginning to temporarily order the suspension of gaming operations, too.