Macau’s slump continues as opportunities grow in ASEAN region: Angela HanLee

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Macau, a key gaming hub, is struggling to regain its market and is unlikely to return above 30 percent of pre-pandemic revenue figures before the end of 2023, according to Bloomberg Intelligence’s APAC Gaming and Hospitality analyst, Angela HanLee.

Philippines, Singapore, and Cambodia have overtaken Macau in the Asian Gaming market, leading to a shift in opportunities for integrated resort projects across the aforementioned ASEAN markets. 

“Asia Gaming market performance Manila and Phnom Penh has been very impressive in past years, while the performance from Macau has not been that impressive, despite expansions and GGR in that area was just 6 percent up in that area,” Bloomberg Intelligence’s Angela HanLee stressed in her keynote presentation at G2E Asia 2022 Special Edition, Singapore.

The pandemic has derailed the revenues of gaming corporations in Macau and the introduction of China’s ‘common prosperity’ policy has done them no favors either. Notably, Macau has the highest tax rate of any gambling region in Asia; at 40%, forcing mass gamers and VIPs to explore contemporary regions of Singapore and Phnom Penh, which offer lower taxation in general for mass gamers and significant discounts on tax for VIPs.

With no Junket events taking place in the region, Macau has lost significant players from the VIP arena, with revenues dropping down 60 percent from the VIP segment in comparison to that of the pre-pandemic levels.

“Macau’s casinos are trying to shift focus to the mass gaming segment, which has a higher margin. ROIs of Macau casinos used to be more than 100 percent in past, so it was very easy money to make, but now it is not easy to make money, with more casinos in the area. Most of the resort locations do not have local residents as their staff. Manpower is one major crisis these days, as the operators need foreign staff,” the Bloomberg Intelligence analyst said.

Angela further stated that the current casino scenario is not attractive to foreign investors, with various restrictions hindering a potential deal, saying, “the casino license in Macau is not attractive for others to enter.”