Macau Gambling Revenue Up 28% in April


While the past year has seen speculation that Macau is going to begin to lose revenue because the Chinese government is cracking down on corruption in the autonomous territory, that has not been the case. Macau saw its gambling revenue rise 28 percent in April, which beat the expectations.

In the past, Macau has been the top gambling location in the world and the premier destination for high rollers to indulge themselves. The city was legendary for its service. But, the Chinese government has been cracking down on corruption, and that means the systems of bribery and kickbacks that assured clients got whatever they were looking for has disappeared.

Previous Problems in Macau

High-end gamblers from mainland China are choosing to take their gambling money to the Philippines because their money goes farther, banking laws are laxer, and they like the way the gambling companies are treating them. This has become a huge problem for Macau. The island territory makes 60 percent of its money from high rollers, and if they leave for greener pastures, its revenue will drop significantly. In addition, Macau, which has sponsored tourism junkets for high rollers from China, was feeling the pinch of high rollers not contributing to its tourism industry, as well as its gaming industry. With large gambling houses come additional jobs and additional opportunities for tourists to spend money. The last thing the territory wanted was for gamblers to take their money to a different destination. Macau needed to find a way to attract and keep high rollers, or the high-end gamblers will find somewhere else to gamble, take advantage of lax banking laws, and revel in their luxurious perks afforded them because of the amount of money they spend on gambling each year.


Macau’s Comeback

Experts predicted that Macau would have a down month because March beat their expectations. They also expected the territory to show slower growth. But, that has not been the case. When Chinese President Xi Jinping began his anti-corruption campaign, many high rollers with deep pockets left Macau and traveled to the Philippines and Vietnam to spend their money and bank their winnings. They did not want the Chinese government to take their money.

However, as with many gambling institutions, Macau has rebranded itself to attract more gamblers. First, many casinos began building family-friendly and nongaming destination packages for their customers, which actually led to more gaming. Gamblers were able to continue to gamble and entertain their family as well. Second, because the casinos went overboard trying to attract and keep other gamblers through perks and travel packages, the high rollers, which Macau relies on for 60 percent of its gambling revenue, began to return as well. In addition, Macau has been on a campaign to assure its gamblers that their money and winnings are safe and free from further Chinese interference. It emphasizes that while it is a part of China, it is an autonomous territory.

It remains to be seen whether Macau can continue this nearly two-year upward trend in its gambling revenues, especially if it is going to compete with Vietnam, the Philippines, or possibly its neighbor, Hainan Island, where the Chinese government has been thinking about adding gambling. Macau, with its infrastructure of luxury hotels, restaurants, and shopping, appears to have the upper hand. High-end gamblers already know where to go for the best perks. However, in order to stay ahead of the high-roller dollar competition, Macau must continue to innovate and offer the best perks to the most important high-end gambling dollars.


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