Earlier today, Stanley Ho, one of the pioneers of Macau gambling, died at the age of 98 in Hong Kong. At the same time, however, Macau, despite prosperous growth during the decades under Ho’s watch, the region continues to suffer in the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ho founded SJM Holdings Ltd and worked to put Macau on the map, creating global ties with other markets and encouraging changes within the industry, making him a billionaire in the process and putting him in the ranks of other global titans in the gaming industry like Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn.
Yet Macau’s daily gross gaming revenue (GGR) dropped into negative figures from May 18 to May 24, compared to the same period last year. Reportedly, compared to year-on-year data, the daily average dropped by 103%, earning close to MOP25 million (US$3.1 million).
The revenue for Macau’s casinos has been buoyed in part by high-end gamblers.
The study by the Macau Research Center shows that more than half of people who visited Macau during the pandemic intended to gamble and spent on average MOP$87,000 on gaming activities. The study focuses on the period after the lockdown was announced and reported the players visited Macau several times within the last 12 months. Research also shows that this type of player was encouraged to return regularly to maintain business and relationships.
Analysts maintained optimism that GGR will pick up again when travel restrictions are lifted. Discussions are ongoing but the hope is there will be steps forward by early June.