The return to growth seems to be moving further and further away for Macau casinos. Indeed, other restrictive measures are added to those which caused the drop in revenues of gaming establishments. The Chinese authorities have just communicated that an annual maximum limit for visitors is a project in preparation. This initiative could further complicate the efforts of casinos which are trying, somehow, to resume growth. In addition, the total ban on smoking could soon replace the regulations on the partial ban on smoking in casinos.
Chinese authorities keep up with restrictions
Macau has been experiencing an unprecedented crisis for several months. Indeed, the casinos of the capital of games have been recording turnover in decline for 10 months already. For good reason, the Chinese government has taken actions to fight corruption and money laundering. This time around, Chinese authorities want to limit the annual number of visitors to Macau. The announcement of this new restriction is likely to slow the return to growth of gaming establishments in the region. The objective of this project is to minimize as much as possible the inconvenience caused to residents due to the large influx of tourists.
The Macau government has stressed that the gaming capital can accommodate between 89,000 and 92,000 visitors per day. Exceptionally, during the Chinese New Year, the city receives an average of 147,000 visitors. According to the Minister of Culture and Social Affairs, Alexis Tam Chon Weng, this figure is much higher than the capacity of Macau. As a result, it has been announced that the region will receive a maximum of 21 million visitors per year.
A maximum limit that can change
To reassure Macau casino operators who are concerned about the impact of this limit, Alexis Tam Chon Weng stressed that this figure is not final. When other infrastructures emerge, the maximum visitor limit will be reassessed accordingly. As improvements and constructions are currently being prepared, an increase in this figure will not be long in coming.
This government initiative is another obstacle for Macau’s casinos to return to growth. To this restriction could soon be added the total ban on smoking in casinos. So far the partial smoking ban is in force in Macau. Gaming establishments have thus set up rooms reserved for smoking players. Chinese authorities have indicated that the plan for a total smoking ban is still ongoing. A prospect that is likely to harm the many investments envisaged by operators.