ambling revenue in the Chinese territory of Macau fell 13.7% in December from a year earlier, marking the steepest decline in close to four years, since a 16.3% drop in March 2016.
Overall revenues in 2019 fell 3.4%, hit by tepid demand from high rollers amid the Sino-U.S. trade war and protests in neighboring Hong Kong, according to figures from the city’s gaming bureau reported by Reuters.
The year’s revenue decline follows two years of gains in the former Portuguese colony and comes as a closely watched transition of a new government administration is underway.
Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Macau for three days in December to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its handover to China. His trip, which saw the swearing in of Macau’s new government, was a key reason for December’s muted gambling revenues due to tight security and restrictions on visas which kept many gamblers away.