Macau Casinos Pay Out Employee Bonuses Despite Pandemic

Macau Casinos paid out annual bonuses to their staff despite recording one of the worst years on record due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Macau Casinos suffered another terrible year at the hands of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The lavish properties remained closed to the public for long periods, and Macau casinos lost billions of dollars as a result.

Five of the six main Macau gaming operators awarded their employees annual bonuses despite recording astronomical losses. Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts, and Wynn Resorts all dished out lucrative bonuses. As did Galaxy Entertainment, and SJM Resorts. However, Melco Resorts has not yet announced its bonus despite awarding one traditionally.

Approximately 95 percent of MGM Resorts’ 10,000 Chinese staff receive a bonus of one month’s salary. This is the same bonus more than 25,000 Las Vegas Sands Macau workers receive. Wynn Resorts reported 98 percent of its 12,000-strong team qualify for a month’s salary bonus.

SJM Resorts is paying between 1.5 months and two months’ salary as a bonus. This is the most generous all the Macau casinos rewarding their loyal staff.

Dr. Wilfred Wong is the Las Vegas Sands China President. He thanked his army of staff for their contributions over the past 12 months.

“This year was another challenging one, not just for Macau but for the whole world. Since the start of the pandemic, our team members have demonstrated their care for the community by taking the initiative to get vaccinated, volunteering to support our 24-hour testing station during two community-wide mandatory testing drives, and by providing hotel services for medical observation, among so much more.”

Macau Casinos Revenue Continue Falling

A lack of footfall at Macau casinos is resulting in operators reporting dramatic falls in revenue. Officials publish gross gaming revenue reports (GGR) each month. Figures for November 2021 show GGR weighed in at MOP$6.75 billion ($1.16 billion). This is an increase of 55% compared to October. However, October was Macau casinos worst-performing month of 2021.

There is little to celebrate because November 2022’s GGR is 70% less than November 2019 before COVID-19 hit.

The fact pre-COVID-19 figures from 2019 were the worst year-on-year drop off since 2016 is worrying for Macau casinos investors.

Vegas Casinos In Full Recovery Mode

A lack of recovery is in stark contrast with Las Vegas casinos, which have recovered well. The future looks bright for Las Vegas with Nevada casinos posting an eighth consecutive month of US$1 billion ($1.38 billion) revenues. Figures for October 2021 tie with a record set in 2006-07 before the global banking crisis.

Vegas’ casinos pulled in US$1.22 billion ($1.68 billion) in October 2019 alone. Venues on the famous Las Vegas Strip accounted for $702.2 million ($969.51 million) of that impressive sum.

The number of visitors only fell 7.6 per cent, to 3.39 million, compared to the same month in 2019. Those figures show people still flock to Las Vegas for gambling purposes.

Furthermore, sports betting in the state of Nevada is booming. It added more than US$1 billion ($1.38 billion) to casinos’ accounts during October. This marked another new record. Imagine how high that revenue will soar once the pandemic ends.

Omnicron Delays Quarantine-Free Travel to Macau

Macau casinos suffered another blow this week when Macau and Hong Kong officials delayed quarantine-free travel between the two Chinese Special Administrative Regions.

The Omnicron variant of COVID-19 is rapidly spreading around the world, including China. Both Hong Kong and Macau are reporting cases of this highly contagious variant. The continuing spread of Omnicron has pushed back the resumption of quarantine-free travel.

“We will have to wait for a while before we could put in place this resumption of normal travel between Hong Kong and the mainland.” Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said to reporters this week.

Quarantine-free travel is available between Macau and most parts of mainland China. However, this is set to change because China has a “zero-COVID” policy that places strict restrictions upon detection of COVID outbreaks.