The Macau Government’s all-in bet on gambling tourism is looking like a loser with gaming revenues collapsing -49% in February. It’s the ninth month in a row that Macau’s gambling returns have fallen following the Chinese Govt’s graft crackdown, which has cut visits of high rollers suspected of washing dirty money.
Macau is the world’s biggest gambling centre, surpassing Las Vegas in 2006. The Feb takings of USD3.1bn are still impressive but there are fears this could be a long-term trend as the Chinese Govt uses a big stick in its drive to encourage Macau to economically diversify.
At present 85% of Govt revenue is derived directly from gambling. It’s a big, risky bet. Will it pay off?