Gambling industry experts told Lusa today that the Chinese President’s visit to Macau could compound the losses in casino revenues this year.
The founder of Newpage Consulting, a consultant specializing in gambling regulation, argued that it is not just the Chinese authorities’ restrictions on issuing visas for security reasons that could contribute negatively to December’s results in Macau.
For David Green, Xi Jinping’s visit to Macau (three days from Friday to Friday) could have a negative impact on Macau’s VIP segment.
“I don’t think visa restrictions alone have a material impact on the game’s gross revenue,” he said.
“What can really have an impact, however, is the biggest concern about the growing vigilance and active policing,” whether by preparation while the President is in Macao and even in the aftermath of the visit, he added.
The expert said he believed that “some high value players may prefer to be left out during this period rather than being seen playing actively.”
This is because “it’s not the number of visitors that determines what happens to the game’s gross revenue, but its value as players,” he said.
Portuguese gambling lawyer Pedro Cortés supports the idea of David Green. “I completely agree. The same thing happened in 2014, when [Xi Jinping] came to Macau, ”said Portuguese partner at Rato, Ling, Lei & Cortés – Advogados.
“All security measures in place push not only the mass market, but above all VIP players,” he added.
This fact and the reversal of the weight of the VIP market to the mass market together will “have influence”, said the expert.
Pedro Cortés also explained that “the VIP player is not very fond of being identified and, in these circumstances, not because he is committing any illegality, but because he values his privacy and is discreet in nature, it is natural to avoid traveling to Macau” .
Recent statistics from the Macau authorities point to a gamble dependence on the mainland tourist flow and financial rating agencies have highlighted the negative performance of the gambling industry, which has impacted the economy, which is currently in technical recession.
If by 2018 casino revenues in the gambling capital of the world grew by 14 per cent year-on-year to MOP302.8 billion, with accumulated gross gaming revenue until November this year at MOP269.62 billion, less 2.4 per cent from last year.
Macau’s casinos ended November with revenues of MOP22.88 billion, down 8.5 percent from the same period last year, according to figures published in the online page of the Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau (DICJ).
Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Macau today to preside over the 20th anniversary ceremonies of the transfer of administration from Portugal to China and to inaugurate the new government of the region.