For the third straight month, and for the fourth time in the last five months, Macao casinos reported monthly gambling revenue plunged 95% or more from the year-ago period. The casinos might be open, but gamblers aren't visiting.
Year to date, gambling revenue is down over 80% from 2019 due to the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent tough travel and tourism restrictions the government imposed to and from the city, the only place in China where gambling is legal.
Macao's Gaming Inspection & Coordination Bureau reported just 1.33 billion patacas, the local currency of Macao, or $167 million, was taken in in August, compared to 24.3 billion patacas last year.
After casinos like Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS), Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN), and Melco Resorts & Entertainment (NASDAQ:MLCO) were forced to close for two weeks in February due to the COVID-19 outbreak, business has not returned.
Las Vegas Sands reported revenue of just $47 million in total Macao revenue in the second quarter, a 98% drop from the near $2.2 billion it generated in the second quarter of 2019, while Wynn Resorts, which generates almost three-quarters of its revenue from Macao, generated less than $21 million from its two resorts, a 98% decline from the near-$1.2 billion notched last year.
Melco Resorts was no better, realizing $156 million in revenue, down from almost $1.3 billion last year.
China began reissuing travel visas to visit Macao last month, but it's a very narrow opening as it applied to a single adjacent city. Investors shouldn't expect casinos to recover anytime soon.