Macau Decides To Reduce Casino GGR Forecast for 2022 Due To Sluggish Market
- The government will announce the reduced forecast in the second half of 2022
- Macau casinos are expected to generate much lower revenue this year due to the pandemic
- The city’s top official says things will get better once pandemic-related restrictions are eased
As Macau’s casino industry continues to feel the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government is set to lower its gross gaming revenue (GGR) forecast for 2022.
Macau’s Chief Executive Ho lat-Seng told journalists this week that the change in forecast is mainly due to a fresh wave of positive cases that swept across China during the first half of the year.
Back in November 2021, the government announced a MOP130 billion (US$16 billion) GGR forecast for 2022, but with Macau casinos only generating MOP23.79 billion during the first five months of the year, the industry is not expected to hit the original forecast, prompting the government to decide to cut the figure.
The GGR recorded from January to May 2022 already represents a 44% decline from the same period in 2021. The initial forecast of MOP130 billion is also a massive drop from the industry’s full-year results in 2019, before the pandemic hit, which stood at MOP292.5 billion.
The updated 2022 GGR forecast will be announced in the second half of the year.
Pandemic Restrictions Impeding Macau’s Recovery
The government’s decision to reduce the GGR forecast does not come as a surprise. While most of the casinos around the world are starting to get back on their feet following the onslaught of the pandemic, recovery efforts in Macau have been hampered by new travel restrictions imposed due to a recurrence of COVID-19 cases in mainland China during the first half of the year.
The country is currently implementing strict visa requirements for Macau travelers owing to the pandemic, which means visitor numbers in the region have significantly dropped since the start of 2022, leading to lower GGR.
At the moment, Macau is still not allowing entry to foreigners, except those from Portugal. A mandatory 14-day quarantine is also currently being implemented for Macau citizens returning from overseas, as well as those coming from Taiwan or Hong Kong. People from Mainland China are only the ones allowed to travel freely to Macau with little to no restrictions.
Mr. Ho expressed confidence though that things will get back on track once the COVID-19 situation in the country is contained, with the city eyeing to lift some restrictions this summer if the pandemic situation is deemed moderate. The government recently eased the COVID-19 test requirement for those traveling from Guangdong province in Mainland China, a move that could boost Macau’s tourist numbers to almost 40,000 daily.