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Foreigner-only gaming rooms proliferate at Macao’s casinos

The exclusive facilities seem to have been set up in response to official calls for Macao to reduce its dependence on the mainland Chinese gaming market.

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The exclusive facilities seem to have been set up in response to official calls for Macao to reduce its dependence on the mainland Chinese gaming market.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 12:27 am

Exclusive areas for foreign players have been set up at casinos run by five of Macao’s six gaming concessionaires, according to Portugal’s news agency Lusa.

Citing reports in industry media, the agency says foreigner-only gaming rooms can now be found at the Venetian Macau, the Grand Lisboa Palace, the City of Dreams, Studio City and the MGM Macau and its sister property in Cotai. Only the Wynn properties do not appear to offer such facilities.

The foreigner-only rooms seem to be a response by the casinos to a government push to reduce dependence on high-rolling mainland Chinese punters. Under new regulations, operators are given tax breaks on gross gaming revenue generated by customers from overseas.

[See more: Macao’s shortage of foreign workers is holding back its recovery, analysts say]

The news comes in the wake of a reported uptick in private jet traffic at Macao airport, as casinos fly in foreign clients.

Macao’s exposure to the mainland Chinese market was dramatically highlighted during the last year of the Covid-19 pandemic, when travel curbs saw the local economy contract by 26.8% year-on-year in real terms.

Although the city recorded almost five million visitors in the first quarter of this year, according to the latest Macau Government Tourism Office figures, around 3.2 million were from the mainland, with most of the rest from Hong Kong and Taiwan. 

January figures showed foreign visitors making up only two percent of the territory’s total arrivals.

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 12:27 am

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