Updated May 1, 2020 - 2:19 pm
Macao casinos experienced their worst gross gaming revenue decline in history in April with revenue down 96.8 percent compared with April 2019, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau reported Thursday.
The bureau said casinos won $94.4 million (U.S.) in April compared with $2.95 billion in April 2019.
The decline was the result of border closures that prohibit visitation from neighboring areas, including Hong Kong, because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The decline was even worse than in February, when Macao’s government ordered the closure of the district’s 41 casinos for 15 days.
For the first four months of 2020, gaming revenue in Macao is down 68.7 percent from a year ago.
Three Las Vegas companies — Las Vegas Sands Corp., Wynn Resorts Ltd., and MGM Resorts International — operate properties on the Macao peninsula and on the nearby Cotai Strip. Those companies generate about 30 percent to 60 percent of their revenue in Macao.
In earnings calls by Sands last week and by MGM Thursday, executives said they are still committed to Macao and that expansions in Asia represent major opportunities for their companies.
“We will continue to invest in our properties and expand our offerings, especially on nongaming, with more suites and more room product,” MGM acting CEO Bill Hornbuckle said in an earnings call with investors on Thursday. “I look forward with working with the new chief executive in Macao and his administration.”
Sands executives had the same sentiments in their April 22 earnings call.
“Now is not the time to slow down on investment in Macao,” Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson said in remarks to investors.
Chief Operating Officer Rob Goldstein said he expects Macao and Singapore to rebound faster than Las Vegas, mainly because he doesn’t expect airlines in the United States to be able to deliver passengers to Southern Nevada as rapidly as the resorts will be able to gear up for customers.
Wynn spokesman Michael Weaver declined to comment and the company has not had its first-quarter earnings call yet.
The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. Las Vegas Sands operates six properties in Macao.