acau's gross gaming revenue fell 66% to 7.82 billion patacas (USD 979 million) in December from a year earlier, according to data from the Macau Gaming Inspection & Coordination Bureau. It marked the worst year on record for casinos in the gambling hub.
The drop was roughly in line with the median analyst estimate for a 68% decline, and follows a 71% drop in November, as reported by Bloomberg. Full-year revenue fell 79% to 60.4 billion patacas.
Macau is struggling to recover more than three months after China relaxed travel and visa curbs, as gamblers still find it tough to enter the city because of a difficult and time-consuming application process. Getting into Macau is actually getting more difficult, as the government tightened border restrictions because of a new strain of coronavirus that emerged in the UK. Under the new policy, residents from Greater China who have been to any country within the past three weeks will be prohibited from entering the city.
The SAR has not seen coronavirus cases in the past six months, but it’s still at risk as infections are reappearing in Hong Kong and parts of mainland China with the onset of colder weather.
Analysts expect a rebound this year. Monthly gaming revenue should show solid gains due to easy comparisons with 2020 figures. Sanford C. Bernstein sees gaming revenue returning to about 80% of 2019 levels, though analyst Vitaly Umansky does not expect a significant easing of bottlenecks in the near term.
The Bloomberg Intelligence index of Macau casino operators rose 3.9% in December, paring its decline for the year to 11%. The benchmark Hang Seng Index added 3.4% for the month.