Asia round-up – Macau special: One step forward, two steps back

SJM’s Macau bleeding continues

Asia Round Up

SJM Holdings posted its Q3 report, which made for difficult reading after the Macau casino operator reported a massive HK4.6bn (US$590m) loss for the first nine months of 2022.

Furthermore, SJM has seen a 60% fall in net gaming revenue – totalling HK$913m, compared to Q3 2021 – while its adjusted EBITDA for the year so far is sitting at negative HK$2.14bn.

SJM Holdings Chairman and CEO Dr Ambrose So commented: “Results for the third quarter of 2022 continued to be severely impacted by travel restrictions and quarantine requirements."

Click here for our full Q3 story.

Macau sees more Covid-19 pain…

Just as things were starting to look up again for Macau, turmoil has once again thrown the region into a panic after a dealer allegedly tested positive for Covid, with three further people subsequently returning positive results.

Macau’s Government has announced a new round of testing in the city, which will start on Tuesday following the outbreak.

Director of the Health Bureau Lo Iek Long said after the positive tests: “All Macau residents will be tested tomorrow and will be required to do so within one day, but if the test is done today, it will not be [required] tomorrow.”

The move comes as China’s zero-Covid policy sees no signs of easing up, with the origin of the virus, Wuhan, heading back into lockdown recently after another outbreak there.

... But China re-opens smart visa facility to Macau from 1 November

Despite the outbreak in Macau, China is pushing ahead with plans to re-open the smart visa facility from 1 November for Chinese nationals coming from the mainland.

The re-opening allows visitors from the mainland to apply for visas individually or in groups to travel to the Chinese gambling province.

However, some restrictions have been put in place, with an official statement from China’s National Immigration Administration (NIA) stating: “Mainland residents can apply for group travel and individual travel visas using the smart visa facility at the entry-exit administration department of their household registration or usual place of residence, without the need to submit paper applications.

“Persons from areas with medium to high-risk of epidemic and those with a history of residence in medium to high-risk areas are not allowed to use the smart visa facility.”

It marks the first time that Chinese residents can apply for a visa since March 2020, when much of the world went into lockdown. The Individual Visit Scheme was re-opened on 23 September 2020 but was only open to paper applications at public security departments.

Kazuo Okada’s Q2 figures add up

The current operator of the Okada Manila – which its ousted founder Kazuo Okada briefly returned to this year – Tiger Resort, Leisure and Entertainment (TRLEI) has confirmed that the Q2 results posted under Okada’s tenure in control of the casino were accurate.

The figures were doubted when reported earlier this year, which showed a gross gaming revenue of Php8.3bn (US$142.6 m) – up 38% on Q1 and 233% on 2021 – while the EBITDA improved by 89% against Q1 – reaching Php2.18bn. However, following a review of the figures TRLEI has revealed that the numbers were accurate.

While announcing the validity of the results, TRLEI also said it would not be releasing the Q3 results of the Okada Manila yet, as it only retook control of the property in October.

The saga of Kazuo Okada, aka Daddy O, will be covered by Gambling Insider in the November/December edition of the magazine.

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