It is no secret that Las Vegas is competing on the world stage. The big casinos which have helped make Sin City have turned an eye to Asia, hoping to expand in Macao and reap huge profits. But the numbers may be too good to be true.
Attempts by Macao to mimic Las Vegas are falling flat. The new bridge projects have allowed for millions of tourists to pour into Macao, but local services are proving unable to keep up with demand. The city is struggling as it is drowning.
A victim of its own success, Macao represent s a $38 billion dollar prize. The 55-km Guangdong bridge has already helped bring 10 million additional visitors into the city in Q1, 20 percent more than in 2018. The leap in traffic has put strain on the services and accommodations, but has had lackluster results for business. People just aren’t spending. Indeed, it looks like gaming profits may be stagnant, or even shrinking for the year.
In these early days, it is not possible to say if Macao will improve or not. The Cotai Strip might never look like Las Vegas, but some still have a dream for a Sin City of the East. Perhaps the secret lies in additional revenue lines. Nevada casinos, hotels, and restaurants accounted for two thirds of Strip profits; in Macao, those numbers were closer to 10 percent. There’s still room to grow.