Macau’s Revenue Improves but Still Lower Than Last Year

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The Macau casino industry is slowly working its way back to some semblance of normal, but its year-on-year figures still show plenty of room for improvement.

Casino.org reports that casinos won $1 billion to kick off the year, but this is a 63.7 per cent decline from January 2020, or $1.77 billion.

But it was a 2.6 per cent increase compared to December.

More favourable year-on-year comparisons begin with February, as this time a year ago is when China and Macau began ordering people to stay home and travel was greatly restricted.

“Premium mass was the best performing segment during the month, while junket VIP was most hamstrung and base mass continued to be hampered by low levels of visitors and Hong Kong travel closure,” gaming analysts at Sanforc C Bernstein said in a Monday note.

The brokerage added that January “continued to be negatively impacted by visitation bottlenecks due to visa processing and COVID-19 testing requirements.”

Last year was the worst year since 2006 for Macau casinos.

January 2021 marked the industry’s 12th consecutive monthly gaming revenue decline.

As was the case in February 2020, getting in and out of Macau is no easy task.

Being a Special Administrative Region of China, Macau has the freedom to squeeze its border gates and prevent certain people from being granted access.

With a new COVID-19 strain recently detected in several parts of Asia and Macau last month reporting its first new COVID-19 case in more than seven months, the enclave has once again amended its entry processes.

“People arriving at Macau’s border coming from anywhere other than mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong will be turned away. People from those three areas are permitted entry, so long as they have a recent negative nucleic acid test,” it said.

Those permitted entry are then required to undergo a supervised quarantine that ranges from two to three weeks.

The Macau Public Security Police, which monitors the flow of people in and out of the gaming hub, said 85 per cent fewer people visited Macau in 2020 than the prior year, with approximately 5.92 million people welcomed last year.

Macau’s economy is heavily dependent on its gaming industry, as casinos generate nearly 90 per cent of the local government’s tax revenue.

Macau is set to receive its first COVID-19 vaccines last this month.

Macau Public Health Clinical Director Alvis Lo Iek Long explained the region will receive the Sinopharm, BionTech and Fosun Pharma vaccines.

The AstraZeneca vaccine, Lo said, will not be available in Macau until the third quarter.

Macau confirmed that it has purchased 800,000 doses of all three vaccines.

The government additionally has a purchase order for 400,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Macau Loses Two Michelin Star Restaurants in 2021

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Photo | Daniel Reche

The Macau casino sector has seen a decline in the number of Michelin-starred restaurants at its casino resorts.

GGR Asia reported in January that the latest edition of the Michelin Guide Hong Kong Macau revealed 18 restaurants in Macau boasting a Michelin star, down from 20 in the previous year.

All the still-listed eateries are located inside a casino hotel or resort.

Macau had again three restaurants awarded three stars.

It is Michelin’s top accolade for food that it considers “exceptional cuisine”.

Two of the outlets, French favourite Robuchon au Dome, and a Chinese fine-dining outlet The Eight, are at Grand Lisboa casino hotel, owned by gaming operator SJM Holdings.

Jade Dragon, a Cantonese-cuisine restaurant at City of Dreams Macau, a casino resort run by Melco Resorts and Entertainment also kept its three-star rating.

Missing from the 2021 list of two-starred venues is The Tasting Room, a French contemporary restaurant at City of Dreams Macau.

William Brown

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