VIP Gamblers remain devoted to gambling hub Macau but fail to bolster gross gaming revenue

VIP Gamblers remain devoted to gambling hub Macau but fail to bolster gross gaming revenue

The deadly corona virus pandemic forced authorities to issue “stay-at-home” orders across the world, forcing entertainment properties like casinos and sports gaming venues to suspend their operations. However, some high-end customers or so-called VIPs remained devoted to Macau during the period covering late March through May.

A newly released study, prepared by the Macau Research Center, has revealed that bulk of visitors to Macau during that time period hailed from mainland China and most of them were classified as VIP gamers. The visitation and spending numbers, however, were not sufficient to bolster the gross gaming revenue (GGR) of the Special Administrative Region.

According to data released by the center, roughly 60 per cent of those participated in the survey said they visited the gambling hub specifically to gamble, while 87 per cent of the participants said they visited the hub for gaming activities. The visitors spent an average of $11,000 and $5,633 on wagering and on dining and other non-gaming amenities respectively during their visits in the aforementioned time frame. The Macau Research Center study underlined that the spending decisions of high-end or VIP customers were less influenced by macroeconomic or social sentiment when compared with the mass market.

However, the visits by those high-end customers could not prevent GGR from falling. As per available data, GGR of Macau casinos slipped 98 per cent last month because of continued strict travel controls that prevented a large section of gambling enthusiasts from travelling to the gambling hub in the East. Industry experts say that the recommencement of travel with Hong Kong would be essential to get Macau’s casino business back to normal.

Commenting on the situation, the Macau Research Center said, “During the research period, visitors who travelled to Macao via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB) have spent 4,280 Macao Pataca (MOP) per head on average, 32% (MOP 1,038) more than those who arrived through sea ports. In addition, visitors who arrived in Macao via the HZMB spent more.”

Explaining its point, the center added that visitors who travelled to Macau via the HZMB spent 117 per cent more on shopping and 40 per cent more on entertainment than those who arrived in the gambling hub through sea ports.

Talks on easing of travel restrictions between Macau and Hong Kong are in progress, but a recent political volatility between Beijing and Hong Kong could spoil the efforts. Last week, severe protests picked up in Hong Kong on news that China is trying to limit the Special Administrative Region’s autonomy, ending the “two systems, one country” way of administrating things.