Macau legislator and gaming expert, Davis Ka Chio Fong, estimates gross gaming revenue could recover to around MOP$8 billion (US$1 billion) per month once Guangdong Province reopens its border with Macau.
Macau’s GGR dropped by 97% year-on-year to a record low of just MOP$716 million (US$90 million) in June, down 59.4% compared to May. After Guangdong Province implemented quarantine measures on all arrivals from Macau in late March, GGR in Macau fell to MOP$754 million (US$94.5 million) in April, but had slightly recovered to MOP$1.76 billion (US$220.5 million) in May.
Professor in Integrated Resort and Tourism Management and Director of the Institute for the Study of Commercial Gaming of the University of Macau, Fong told media, on Thursday that he believes June’s GGR number represents the trough of the pandemic.
“We have found that the majority of gamblers are local residents in this period, so we have almost touched the bottom,” he said. “I hope Macau can establish a travel bubble with nearby regions.
“Once the border with Guangdong Province starts to open, Macau’s GGR will likely recover to between MOP$6 billion and MOP$10 billion depending on the level of opening, so it might be about MOP$8 billion. But of course it’s hard to reinstate the GGR level as before.”
Regarding the travel bubble between Macau, Guangdong Province and Hong Kong, Fong explained there was a difference in the needs of each jurisdiction.
“Over 50% of Macau’s GDP depends on tourism and relevant industries, while other places only have 10% GDP contributed from tourism industries,” he said. “So Macau has an urgent need to push for the reopening of borders. Other places don’t have such motivations and pressures.”
Conversely, Fong noted there would be greater responsibility placed on other jurisdictions once border controls were eased.
“For example, if the IVS (Individual Visit Scheme) resumed, those relevant provinces have to resume their policies, and their governments have to rearrange and redistribute their resources.
“Also, different cities have different preventive policies, so visitors from different provinces have to follow their own arrangements, such as with virus tests. Different cities have different fees, and visitors have to pay for it to visit Macau.
“Opening borders would benefit Macau, but other places might lose from it.”
Fong suggested Macau should offer more promotions or discounts for visitors to counteract their cost of visiting.