Macau protests to lift IVS freeze on Beijing and continue casino operations

Macau resists closing casinos second time and is pressing Beijing to lift visa restrictions

The vast majority of people around the world have embraced the lockdown rigorously. However, as weeks and months roll by, we are likely to start seeing the cracks widening, with protests escalating.

Last year, Macau welcomed about 39.4 million visitors, with more than 27.9 million from mainland China. 46.8% were IVS travellers, which contributed a higher proportion to the city’s casino gaming revenues.

Macau is currently admitting only Chinese, Hong Kong, and Taiwanese nationals due to Beijing’s suspension of Individual Visit Scheme (IVS), the primary source of visa of gamblers from mainland China to enter Macau permits for independent travelers, implemented last year November. This is mainly to contain the outbreak of the newly-identified coronavirus.

Lei Wai Nong, Secretary for Economy and Finance of Macau.

Macau’s Special Administrative Regions (SAR) are not considering the second round of casino closures despite the low consumer traffic brought by the Coronavirus travel ban and restrictions, with only 230 travelers documented to have visited the Peninsula last Sunday. Nevertheless, Macau legislators propose Beijing to lift the freeze on IVS.

“The government does not have a plan to adjust the current operations on casinos,” according to Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong at a Thursday press briefing.

“Macau and the mainland is working hard on preventative measures. Once the situation of the epidemic is eased, the SAR government will ask the central government to resume the IVS.”

Macau’s April Gaming Revenue on a Nosedive

Macau went 39 days without a new case of respiratory illness due to Peninsula’s Casinos 15-day halt of operations – However, with Guangdong’s quarantine protocol and Beijing unceasing IVS restriction, analyst firms are expecting an 87 percent to 92 percent drop on Macau’s GRR for the month of April, which is worse than the staggering declines of 80% to 88% drop posted in February and March.

Employees first for Macau Operators

Despite the financial dip they’re in, burning roughly between $1.5 million to $4 million a day to stay in business, Macau operators care about their employees and are retaining staff.

“Keeping casinos open is because the gaming industry is not only providing (gambling) services, but also guarantees the employment of over 58,000 employees,” said Lei Wai Nong, Secretary for Economy and Finance of Macau.

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