ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Travel & Leisure

No jackpot for Macao as Hong Kong unrest keeps visitors away

Mainland high rollers shun gambling while mass market keeps playing

The Venetian Macao integrated-resort hotel: Mainland Chinese visitors to the city are down because of the unrest in nearby Hong Kong.    © Reuters

HONG KONG -- Casinos in Macao took a beating in 2019 after a few winning years as the demonstrations in nearby Hong Kong scared tourists off.

Fading economic momentum in China also kept high-rolling mainlanders from trying their luck.

Gross revenue from so-called games of fortune slid 3.4% on the year to 292.5 billion pataca ($36.6 billion) for the first annual decline in three years, data from the Macao government shows. December revenue plunged 13.7% in a continuation of weakness since January 2019, when monthly numbers began falling for the first time in around two and a half years.

Revenue from mass-market customers increased a solid 11%, according to Morgan Stanley. But revenue dropped a fifth for VIPs, who supply about 40% of the total.

Casinos depend heavily on customers from the mainland, who make up 70% or so of all visitors to the former Portuguese colony. Many mainlanders visit Macao and Hong Kong on the same trip, but months of Hong Kong protests took their toll.

Pressured to find income sources beyond gaming, casino operators are exploring new strategies, including luring families with upgraded resort features and theaters. SJM Holdings and Galaxy Entertainment Group are to open new facilities as early as 2021.

These companies are also setting their sights on the brand-new market of Japan, which has legalized integrated resorts. Galaxy and Melco Resorts & Entertainment have set up shop there to prepare for potential bidding.

Macao players' fortunes may turn around. VIP revenue in the gaming hub will gradually pick up, Morgan Stanley said, predicting a 2% increase overall in revenue for 2020. Improved mass transit, such as the December opening of a new light-rail line, will also help lift mass-market revenue, it said.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends July 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media