Covid restrictions changed the way the world is shaped and, even when lifted, left some serious consequences. The Macau tourism and gambling industries are experiencing these consequences these days.
Lack of VIP visitors:
According to the director of the Center for Gaming and Tourism Studies at Macao Polytechnic University, Wang Changbin, it isn’t likely that the gaming industry will recover and get back to the state it was before the pandemic.
The key reason for that is VIP customers – there is enough mass market revenue and average visitors, but it seems the visits of the VIP customers are drastically reduced.
According to AGB, Wang is satisfied with the speed Macau is recovering – however, the conditions, such as lack of land and transportation facilities, in the region are preventing the VIP customers from coming and visiting its numerous casinos.
At the MGS Summit, where he was the guest speaker, he held a presentation named “Gaming Industry in the Post-Pandemic World and Macau: Trends and Strategies.”
Many other regulated markets, such as Las Vegas, the Philippines, and Singapore, already surpassed the pre-pandemic revenues. However, this isn’t the case with Macau. In the third quarter of 2023, the province’s GGR was 31% lower than it was in the third quarter of 2019.
However, there might be other factors involved: for example, Las Vegas placed its bet on sports betting, and they won – incorporating sports betting in their casinos was a great success.
The difference between Las Vegas and Macau is that Las Vegas uses non-gaming events to expand its gaming industry. On the other hand, Macau uses the gaming industry to expand non-gaming departments.
Wang thinks it would be good to concentrate on Hengqin, which is located near the Cotai Strip, where almost all casinos are located.
The plan for Macau is to become the “capital of entertainment” and a “city of sports events” during the next year. However, Wang said that “the government’s goal to push non-gaming is not to eventually benefit gaming, but in the end, the non-gaming development is positive for gaming revenue in general.”
Ho Iat Seng, a Chief Executive, mentioned various huge events held in Macau in 2023. He stated that they were top-ranked when it comes to both quantity and quality. He said: “Although the largest venue in Macau can only accommodate a maximum of 16.000 people, the lighting and sound effects are up to international standards, and the audiences who have come to Macau to watch the performance have a good experience.”
On top of that, the government of Macau is also making great efforts to submit the application for the official title of “capital of entertainment,” which has to be submitted to mainland China. Ho is positive that the title will be granted to the city.