acau casinos are heading for their first yearly decline since 2016 as multiple headwinds have thwarted any prospects for a recovery. Year-to-date revenue is down 2.4%.
As reported by Bloomberg, this was due to big obstacle the industry faced ever since, which included the trade war between China and the U.S; China’s economy was at its slowest growth since the 1990s; a weakening yuan that dilutes gamblers’ spending power; escalating protests in nearby Hong Kong; rival gaming hubs emerging in Southeast Asia; and a crackdown on cross-border gaming that squeezed junkets, hurting the VIP sector.
Moreover, visa policies to Macau were tightened ahead of the 20th anniversary of its handover from Portugal and an expected visit from President Xi Jinping, according to Credit Suisse Group analyst Kenneth Fong. The restrictions are crimping visitation numbers.
While the short-term outlook is difficult to predict, analysts expect a mild improvement for Macau in 2020, with gaming revenue helped by easier comparisons and some pent-up demand. Estimates are for a 3% increase -- still a long way from the double-digit jumps in 2017 and 2018.