Macau: Labour shortage forces casinos to close thousands of hotel rooms

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Macau casinos have reportedly closed thousands of hotel rooms and reduced other facilities such as housekeeping in response to a labour crisis in the SAR. The sudden growth in inflow of tourists from mainland China and other countries after the lifting of restrictions has caught the casinos off guard.

A person familiar with the situation spoke to Bloomberg, saying, “The lack of service staff is so severe that some hotels have reduced the frequency of maid services, cleaning rooms only after customers check out. We didn’t expect the mainland China reopening would come so fast, so everybody’s struck unprepared.”

While it is great news for Macau casinos that things are going back to normal at a rapid rate, the labor shortage, on the other hand, is restricting the potential revenue they could earn.

Last year, the city recorded $5.3 billion worth of gaming revenue, a fall of more than 50% from 2021 and the lowest since 2004. The Macau gaming market was bigger than Nevada’s before the Covid-19 pandemic, but due to it, the casinos lost a combined $1.6 billion in revenue. The pandemic also led to Macau losing more than 44,000 non-local employees.

Most of the visitors to Macau are from Mainland China and Hong Kong and even when the current inflow is half of pre-pandemic levels, the casinos are seeing a rapid rise in the GGR, reporting an 82.5% year-on-year increase to $1.4 billion this year in January.

While the pandemic was holding back revenue generation in Macau, Nevada casinos reported a 10.52% increase, reaching an all-time high of $14.84 billion in 2022.