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Macau's gaming revenues crashes 80% in March


HONG KONG, April 1 (Reuters) - Gambling revenue in Macau plunged 79.7 percent in March on the year, the government said on Wednesday, as casinos reeled from a lack of visitors after the world’s biggest casino hub ratcheted up curbs to battle a coronavirus pandemic.

Operators Wynn Macau, Sands China, MGM China, Melco Resorts, SJM Holdings and Galaxy Entertainment are all bleeding between $1.5 million and $4 million a day to keep their properties running.

The March figure of 5.3 billion patacas ($664 million), announced on the website of the gaming regulator, was in line with analyst expectations for a drop of about 80% to 82%, however.

“Forecasts for 2020 remain largely guesses at this time, with constantly changing conditions altering expectations on an almost daily basis,” said Vitaly Umansky, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein in Hong Kong, who had forecast the March range.

Last week, the Chinese special administrative region banned entry by visitors from mainland China, neighbouring Hong Kong and Taiwan who have travelled overseas, following earlier bans on foreign visitors and non-resident workers.

Visitors from the Greater China region account for more than 90% of tourists to Macau. Although casinos were open throughout March after a two-week suspension of operations in February, visit and health restrictions hit revenues, say analysts.