The COVID-19 pandemic could end the existence of the online gambling industry in the Philippines in the context of the industry facing countless other problems.
As two global gambling hubs, Macau and Las Vegas, lose tens of millions of dollars a day because of COVID-19 while the casinos are empty, analysts expect the smaller-scale online gambling industry in the Philippines to Benefit from the gamblers online to try their luck.
But in fact, the gambling industry worth $8 billion in the Philippines is struggling to survive, leading to unpredictable consequences for the real estate and retail segment, according to the South China Morning Post.
The gambling industry in the Philippines was at risk
After being shut down for months for being deemed a non-essential service during the blockade period to prevent COVID-19, online casinos in the capital Manila were only partially operational.
That is the tipping point for the Philippines gambling industry as it has faced a lot of pressure – from the threat of tax increases, the immediate ban on the gambling industry, and allegations of the migrant workforce in The gambling industry increases the crime wave in the country, while also aggravating COVID-19.
The $8 billion gambling industry in the Philippines is struggling to survive, with unpredictable consequences for the real estate and retail segments. Two of the 60 casinos licensed by the government have been shut down since the pandemic broke out in the Philippines. Only 14 casinos were active again, while the others followed the motto “war of real estate” and listened to the situation.
If the gambling industry in the Philippines collapses, it would leave an estimated 3.4 million square meters of offices and residential areas vacant when the industry’s workforce returns, according to consultancy Leechiu Property Consultants. 3.4 million m2 is equivalent to the area of more than 600 football fields.
The problems Philippines gambling had to face
Since 2017, the Philippines has emerged as a leading online gambling hub in the world with the emergence of Philippine offshore gambling operators (POGO). In September 2019, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he would not ban casinos like W88 (w88vietbet.com) in the Philippines.
A variety of online gaming platforms allow players to gamble remotely through a live stream. Brendan Bussmann, an expert at Global Market Advisors, confirmed that the majority of players were from Asia. The stakes are usually low, ranging from 5 to 100 USD.
A Chinese citizen can remit up to the US $50,000 abroad per year. However, online gambling is prohibited under Chinese law, so people are not allowed to send money abroad for this purpose.
COVID-19 blew most of Macau’s casino revenue away
As a city mainly based on tourism and casinos, Macau is facing many difficulties due to the pandemic of acute pneumonia COVID-19.
In Macau, more than 80% of local revenue comes from casino operations or its related businesses like tourism. However, under the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Macau only welcomed about 3 million tourists in the first two months of this year, down 56.9% over the same period last year.
Casino revenue fell 79.7% in March. The worst consequences have yet to stop here. According to the latest figures released by the Casino Operations Supervision and Coordination Bureau, casino revenue only reached $95 million last month, down 97% from the $ 3 billion marks last year. As such, the revenue from casinos has almost disappeared in April.
In addition, Macau also announced closing the city to prevent an outbreak of a pandemic that was causing the world to suffer at the end of March.
Macau has cut its casino revenue forecast by half from its original $ 16 billion figure
It is worth mentioning that tourists to Macau mainly come from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. As a result, the future of casinos will be unpredictable as travel restrictions are lifted and the Chinese are confident that the pandemic is well under control in Macau.
In the first quarter of this year, Macau casino operators such as Wynn Macau, Sands China, MGM China, Melco Resorts, SJM Holdings, and Galaxy Entertainment all burned between $1.5 million and $ 4 million a day, according to CNBC.
A good sign is that many big players still went to Macau during the pandemic. Specifically, research by the Macau Research Center found that 60% of people have come to Macau since the pandemic broke out to visit casinos. Each person on average spends 87,000 MOP here.