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Macau Gaming Revenue Plunges 97% In April

With Just $95 Million In Gross Gaming Revenue, April Marked The Worst Month In The History Of Macau's Gambling Market

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Gross gaming revenue from Macau casinos plummeted in April, marking the biggest year-over-year drop in Macau’s gambling history.

Macau casinos won $95 million from gamblers in April. The figures represent a 97 percent decline from April 2019, topping February’s record for its 88 percent drop, stemming mostly from the 15-day forced closure of casinos in response to coronavirus.

There was a slight rebound in March, as gaming revenue only fell 80 percent, but as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads throughout the rest of the globe and the Chinese government continues to restrict visas, the numbers dropped to record lows.

According to a report from the South China Morning Post, casino operators are losing $1 million per day as baccarat and roulette tables “remain nearly empty.”

The Chinese newspaper is also reporting that Melco Resorts and Entertainment, a Hong Kong-based gaming company with multiple properties in the former Portuguese colony, began slashing its executive staff. Chairman Lawrence Ho forfeited his salary for the rest of the year, citing that the number of customers in the casinos is “virtually zero.”

The pandemic seems to be acting to bottom out the market, which has seen seven straight months of declining revenue. Before the spread of coronavirus, the Macau gambling industry was suffering declines from both the trade war with the U.S. and the escalating protests in Hong Kong.

Executives from American casino companies are optimistic about a quick turnaround in Macau’s gaming market.

Bill Hornbuckle, acting CEO for MGM Resorts, said in a Thursday morning earnings calls that the casinos should recover early in the summer as the virus concerns begin to slow. Rob Goldstein, president of Las Vegas Sands, said that that the Chinese government will begin lifting travel restrictions to Macau from the mainland later this month.

Increased visitation to the island will undoubtedly spark an uptick in gaming revenue, as it is the centerpiece of the local economy.