Posted on: April 28, 2022, 05:39h. 

Last updated on: April 28, 2022, 06:17h.

Macau depends greatly on gaming and casinos for economic support. However, one industry expert points out that depending on local traffic is increasingly becoming a thing of the past.

MGM Cotai
MGM Macau in Cotai, seen above. It and other casinos in the city are still popular with foreigners, but not with locals. (Image: Culture Trip)

The Chinese SAR has built its landscape around The Venetian, Sands Macao and City of Dreams. Historically, the region has been popular with locals, but that is changing, and local residents are no longer making their way to the gaming floors.

The head of Macau’s Institute for the Study of Commercial Gaming at the University of Macau, Davis Fong Ka Chio, highlights a significant decline in local gambling. Fong points to a recent survey that showed that the segment dropped from 67% to 40% in the last year.

Fong relied on a recent survey to formulate his conclusion. The result shows a shift in the interests among the local population, with more residents seeking other forms of entertainment besides gambling.

Problem Gambling Down

The survey also showed that the number of gambling addicts is falling. Previously, the addiction rate was around 6%, according to Fong. Now, however, it stands at just 0.8%.

The decline in gambling interest has aided in this decline. But Macau has also increased its efforts to address problem gambling. There are 59 so-called responsible gaming information stations across the city providing relief. These centers offer customers information about responsible gambling and gambling addiction.

Over the past decade, more than 110,000 people have used the service.

Revenue Results

The gaming expert added that Macau has the potential to see a rebound in gaming revenue soon, although it won’t be easy. He stated that the city needs, on average, around 20,000 to 30,000 people to visit each day over the next few months for the gaming revenue to reach last year’s figures.

That’s a viable concept but depends on mitigating factors. The Macau Government Tourism Office recently reported that the average number of daily arrivals is around 22,000. However, maintaining that momentum is contingent upon travel restrictions between Macau, Hong Kong, and China.

The ongoing battle with COVID-19 continues to impact casino revenue. Without significant improvements, reaching Fong’s estimated goal will be challenging.

No Fallout from Satellite Removal

The good news for Macau’s gaming revenue is that the continued exit of satellite casinos won’t be a problem. Fong doesn’t see the removal of the segment as problematic. Many casino operators began to move away from relying on satellites long before Macau announced it would change how they operate.

While the reduction of satellites – now only around 30 compared to almost 300 two years ago – may not impact revenue, it definitely impacts other areas. The Macau Post reports that 85.1% of employees who previously worked in the VIP rooms are still looking for jobs.

Just over 86% of those lost their positions because of satellite closures; only 7.8% proactively left knowing what was going to come. In some cases, the inability to find a new position results from a lack of experience in industries other than gaming.

Those who have found work elsewhere have to figure out how to live a different lifestyle. They were making $2,400 a month in their former positions. They’re now earning only around $1,400.

The lack of employment options and the lower pay rates frustrate the locals; 80% of those who responded to a recent survey indicated that they don’t believe the Macau government is doing enough to help them.

The Macao Gaming Industry Employees Home association made the government aware of this week’s results. Perhaps, as a result, city leaders will make some changes.