On Monday morning, US Casino Industry investors may be shocked to learn that Macau, touted as the new gambling capital of the world, saw a 17% decrease in Chinese visitors last month due to tighter border policy restrictions by the Chinese government. According to reports, the neighboring province of Guangdong brought in heavier Visa restrictions in late May.
The 17% drop is a surprise to Wall Street, which was expecting a drop of approximately 9%, which is typically the case as citizens observe a week-long national holiday during the month. Despite the drop in revenue by mainland visitors, Macau still reported a 20% overall increase, as international tourists continue to flock the tiny island.
Casino moguls Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson have poured billions of dollars into Macao since the government approved the gaming industry 5 years ago. The Venetian Macao, said to open in early Fall, will be the world’s largest casino resort. Other large companies, such as Playboy Enterprises, plan to open large casino gambling hotels as well.
This past May, the Guangdong province implemented mild visa restrictions, which included less approvals and mandating separate visas for citizens of Hong Kong and Macao. There still has been no official statement as to why a change in policy occurred. Many industry insiders have speculated that Chinese officials have deliberitely stalled the growth of the tiny island in order to prevent a potential bubble.