ccording to data released today by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DSIJ), gross gaming revenues in Macau fell by 94.5 percent year-on-year in August to MOP 1.33 billion (USD 166.6 M).

Casinos are reeling from a lack of visitors to the world’s biggest casino hub, despite a loosening of quarantine restrictions which have only seen a modest rise in gamblers.

August’s revenue figure of 1.3 billion patacas ($163.01 million) was in-line with analysts’ expectations of a drop of around 95 percent, Reuters reports.

Gross gaming revenues for the first eight months of this year decreased by 81.6 percent year-on-year to MOP36.3 billion (US$ 453.7 million).

In July gaming revenues reach MOP 1.34 billion (US$ 167.5 million) a 94.5 percent compared with the same period of 2019.

Data from the DSIJ show that since April the gaming revenues fall every month around 90 percent.

Gross gaming and gambling revenues at Macau casinos in December recorded the biggest on-year contraction in 2019, with a drop of 13.7 percent to MOP 22.838 billion (US$2.854 billion), the Macau News reports.

After recording year-on-year growth since August 2016, 2019 had just four months of revenue growth, with the remaining eight months of contraction, some of which with high percentage variations. This included January, with minus 5.0 percent, minus 8.3 percent in April, August with minus 8.6 per cent, minus 8.5 percent in November, and now minus 13.7 percent in December.

The gross revenue raised over 2019 fell by more than MOP 10 billion compared with 2018, totaling MOP 292.455 billion (US$33.556 billion), or a decline of 3.4 percent.

Gross revenue in 2018 totaled MOP 223.210 billion (US$27.901 billion).

China has announced that tourist visas, through which a majority of visitors enter Macau, would be reinstated for all provinces from Sept 23, the Straits Times reports.

Residents from the neighboring coastal province of Guangdong have already been permitted to apply for visas in August but visitor numbers have not increased significantly.

Casino executives and investors had been eagerly awaiting the loosening of visa restrictions to revive gaming revenue, which has slumped since February due to coronavirus-led travel restrictions.

Visitor levels were around 7,000 daily in the last week of August compared with around 100,000 in 2019.

The subdued visitation adds to a list of hurdles for the former Portuguese colony, already hobbled by slowing economic growth, Sino-U.S. tensions, and coronavirus lockdowns.

At the end of the third quarter of 2019 Macau had 41 casinos, 22 of which owned by Sociedade de Jogos de Macau, six by Galaxy Casino, five by Venetian Macau, two by Wynn Resorts (Macau), four by Melco Crown (Macau) and two by MGM Grand Paradise, which altogether had a total of 6,756 tables and 17,348 slot machines.

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