- Macau, the world’s largest gambling hub reopens its borders
- Greece declares war on online slot games
- The popularity of online casino games keeps increasing
Macau has reopened its borders earlier this week in an effort to save the region’s crumbling gambling industry. Whether this will be enough to put the world’s biggest gaming hub back on the money-making track remains a question. Still, it’s definitely a sign that things are coming back to normal after months of the crisis caused by the pandemic.
Speaking of COVID-19, the pandemic has caused a 79% revenue drop in the gaming industry of the United States. Casinos in almost all the states are back in business at the moment of writing, but they’re still not functioning at full capacity.
It’s not just because of the social distancing measures imposed by the authorities, but also for the fact that casino fans are worried that they might contract the disease. Considering that a large percentage of American casino players are seniors, such a worry is more than justified.
For this reason, it is not surprising why the world’s been experiencing a surge in the popularity of online casino games. Although that’s something that’s keeping people at home, some countries don’t like it very much. Greece, for example, has just passed legislation meant to trample down online slots.
World’s Biggest Gaming Hub Reopens Its Borders
The world’s largest gaming hub has finally reopened its regional borders with the intention of giving a boost to its fading gaming industry. The decision to reopen does come with certain conditions. For example, only travellers from other parts of China are eligible for the tourist visa.
Nevertheless, this is definitely great news for Macau casinos as a big percentage of their income comes from Chinese players. However, they’ve been away for more than six months due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The crisis started in January, which is when Macau decided to shut down its casinos. However, unlike Las Vegas and Atlantic City, where casinos stayed locked for several months, the casino shut-down in Macau lasted for only 15 days. Still, even with casinos reopening in mid-February, there just weren’t enough players to fill the gap left in the casino revenue.
With only about 700,000 calling Macau home, the world’s #1 gaming hub suffered huge financial blows. The good news is that the worst is behind Macau now that the regional borders have started letting in tourists from mainland China.
Although it’s still early to tell, the number of new arrivals has not been too large, at least not as large as Macau casinos were hoping. There’s hope that that might change real soon as Macau is considered a sort of safe haven in regards to COVID-19. The entire region has recorded only 46 cases so far. An even more impressive fact is that all the patients have successfully recovered.
Fun Facts About Macau’s Gaming Industry
Similarly to Hong Kong, Macau is also a special administrative region of China. Unlike mainland China, Macau is not a communist country, but a capitalist service economy based around the casino gaming industry.
Some interesting facts about Macau’s casino industry include:
- Macau is the world’s biggest gaming hub
- Gambling makes up more than 60% of Macau’s GDP
- Macau has a gaming revenue that’s about seven times higher than of Las Vegas
- Las Vegas casino companies like Wynn and Venetian operate casinos in Macau
- Nearly 70% of Macau visitors are from mainland China
- Macau is the only place in China where gambling is legal
Greece to Curb Down Online Slots
With the COVID-19 pandemic making people to stay home, the popularity of online casino games has gone up. As a result, stories about problem gambling have started popping up more frequently. Some countries have decided to deal with the problem by promoting responsible gaming. Others, like Greece, chose to implement some bans.
The Greek government has passed legislation that prohibits advertisements of online slot games. The only place where an online casino can promote its slots is its website. Furthermore, operators need to make sure that the ads are not seen by visitors under 21 years of age.
There are a few other provisions, such as the one that limits the maximum stake to €2 and the maximum prizes to €5,000. The limit is higher when other casino games are concerned, with the maximum prize being as much as €70,000. There’s also a stipulation that limits the highest bet a player can make at an online sportsbook. The maximum amount is set at €500,000.
The reason why the new online gambling laws in Greece are important for the worldwide casino industry is that many other countries are currently working on regulating internet gaming. In the US, there are only four states where online casino gaming is legal, West Virginia being the last one to legalize this activity. However, the list of states that are thinking about doing the same is much, much longer.