Casino revenues in Macau have dropped 48% in the first week of August, according to a report by investment research and institutional asset management company Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd.
The study found the average daily gross gaming revenue (GGR) dropping as much as 48% for the first week of the month compared to the previous week, reports Macau Daily Times. The total of 125 million patacas (about $15 million) is the lowest daily GGR since late September, 2020.
The main reason behind the drop in revenues is the Covid-19 Delta variant, with four cases reported on August 3, as the scenario of a potential outbreak remains a possibility as the affected individuals have been in contact with the community.
However, seven days have passed without new cases of Covid-19 surfacing, which has led to the Government to lift the state of “immediate prevention” which was implemented from August 3 to August 10, upon the discovering of those initial cases.
During this period of prevention, cross-border travel became restricted and security measures against the spread of the disease were taken, including the requirement to present negative Covid-19 results for those travelling to Macau.
Mass testing was also conducted within the Macau population and although casino operations were cleared on August 4, other several activities were restricted, which ended up affecting the casino industry indirectly, as fear of the Delta variant spreading took over.
The over three dozen casinos in the area produce half of the local GDP and were not obliged to pause activities, on the condition that they would close “immediately” if any case were to be found. Facemasks remained mandatory within the facilities during the “immediate prevention” state.
“Last time we closed casinos for days because the infections had activities in casinos. This time, the infections have not, but if we find any cases in a casino, we will close that casino immediately,” Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said in August 4, in reference to measures taken in February 2020.
With border restrictions now reversed and the state of “immediate prevention” lowered to “prevention”, it is believed that the situation is now under control, which would allow casino operators to go back to prior revenue levels.
However, Macau Daily Times reports that it is expected that August results will show a 30% drop compared to July, the second-best month since the start of the pandemic; and a 70% drop compared year-on-year with 2019.