2015 - Year of Change for Macau5 years ago
It is well known that Macau is the biggest and most profitable gambling empire that surpassed every city (even Las Vegas) in terms of gambling revenues. However, so –called “Monte Carlo of the Orient” has faced drastic fall in casino revenue in February when gambling revenue fell for disturbing 49%.
Numerous things can be blamed for revenue drop but Xi Jinping's crackdown on corruption is one of the main reasons for the Macau's latest unfavorable situation. It seems now that even more government restrictions are on the way because they are determined to introduce measures which are, in their opinion, good for Macau.
Macau chief executive, Fernando Chui Sai, revealed that government's next plan is to deliver a report to Beijing that will talk about maximum capacity of tourism in the city and a way in which both sides can optimize the flow of the travelers from China to Macau. They have mentioned that new visa restrictions will limit the number of times mainland Chinese residents could visit Macau. If that happens, Macau will no longer see enormous gambling revenues that it has enjoyed for almost a decade.
Alongside with the visa restriction plan, Macau has proposed full smoking ban inside the casinos which means that smoking in VIP rooms and smoking lounges will no longer be allowed.
Even though gambling tourism is Macau’s biggest source of the revenue, making up around 50% of the economy, Macau’s government wants to diversify its economy beyond gambling. They believe Macau needs more hotel rooms, more non-gaming facilities and entertainment venues to attract more visitors who view gambling only as a part of their experience.
Government is trying to focus on culture, sports and retail so operators are now required to provide non-gaming amenities in their resorts. Las Vegas Sands is currently working on $2.7 billion Parisian Macau project which is expected to be open later this year with 3000 rooms, replica Eiffel Tower and entertainment.
It is clear that Macau will need to wait to diversify its economy beyond gambling even though the government is pushing non-gaming options. However, gambling won’t go away from Macau just because government is currently focused on other tourist attractions, as Lawrence Ho believes. Ho, a casino mogul, has stated that Macau is still the largest gambling hub in the world and that gambling will always be an inseparable part of Macau’s economy.
Macau’s officials believe that revenue will stabilize and maybe even improve due to the new resorts that are scheduled to open later this year.
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