Xi’s anti-corruption drive hits Macau hard
It looks like the Chinese government’s anti-corruption campaign is beginning to have an affect.
Gambling revenues are down.
September gambling revenues fell 33% year over year in Macau, the only place in China where gambling is legal. It’s the 16th consecutive monthly decline. While forecasters had anticipated drop of 32% to 34%, this is near a five-year low.
Revenues fell to 17.13 billion patacas ($2.15 billion) from 25.56 billion patacas a year earlier, according to data released by Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau on Thursday. September was down 8% from the 18.6 billion patacas in August.
The Macau pataca is the currency of Macau.
No one can deny that the Chinese love to gamble. The wealthy and other VIP gamers make up about half the revenues in Macau. But gambling and corruption typically go hand in hand, especially among China’s wealthiest classes. So, this is a clear sign that they are staying away from the casino hub. Most observers assume it’s because of Beijing’s widespread crackdown on corruption.
Over the past eight months, casino revenues have tumbled 36.2% to 176 billion patacas from the same period a year ago. For the first half of this year, Macau’s gross domestic product has shrunk by about a quarter.
The government implemented an austerity plan in early September as the monthly gaming revenue dipped below the “red line ” of 20 billion patacas, which was stipulated in 2015 Budget Amendment Law, reported the government news agency Xinhua.