After suffering its worst month ever, casinos in Macau are set to reopen following the citywide lockdown in July due to a Covid-19 outbreak.
According to the Gaming Inspection & Coordination Bureau, gross gaming revenue fell 95% to $49m in July, which is the worst month since records began in 2009.
Authorities are planning to relax social distancing rules after eliminating the community spread of the virus. This will allow venues such as bars and gyms to reopen and dining-in services at restaurants to resume.
However, patrons will need to show a negative nucleic acid test result to enter those venues and the border to the mainland remains closed. With the mainland border closed, Macau will lose its biggest source of visitors.
The effect of the outbreak saw Macau lose its title as the top gambling hub to Las Vegas, Nevada. Macau would need infections to hold near zero in order to support its case to reopen the border and welcome back tourists.
Sanford C. Bernstein Analyst Vitaly Umansky commented: "You are stuck in this zero Covid situation where it’s unclear when the government’s actually going to do anything about it."
Las Vegas Sands Corp.’s Macau operations posted a loss of $110m before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization in the quarter through June. This is compared to a profit of $132m a year earlier and $765m in 2019.
In the first six months of this year, the city recorded $3.3bn in gaming revenue, and before the pandemic, the Chinese territory’s gambling market was six times the size of Las Vegas.