Macau’s shift to diversify beyond gambling

Lea Hogg 1 month ago
Macau’s shift to diversify beyond gambling

Macau is embarking on a strategic shift beyond casinos and gambling. The city-state plans to diversify its revenue streams and reduce its dependence on gaming revenue. This decision comes in the wake of Director Xia Baolong’s recent official visit to Macau and is a significant development in the region’s economic landscape. According to Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng, the gaming industry accounted for about 36 percent of Macau’s GDP in 2023, with the rest being non-gaming elements.

Economic diversification

While it is estimated that the share of GDP from the gaming industry will increase in 2024, the government aims to maintain the share at 40 percent or below. To achieve this, Macau is implementing the “1+4” appropriate economic diversification strategy. This strategy aims to enrich Macau’s function as “One Centre” for integrated tourism and leisure, while facilitating the development of four nascent industries. These include the ‘Big Health’ industry, modern financial services, high and new technology, and convention and exhibition, sports, and the commercial and trade industries.

This strategic shift was further emphasized following the seven-day official visit by Mr Xia Baolong, the Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Work Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the Director of the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office. In addition to this, recent updates in travel, such as the NIA’s new measures for mainland travellers and the inclusion of 8 new cities under the FIT scheme, are set to benefit not only gaming visitors but also visitors for non-gaming activities and business travels.

Despite these plans for diversification into non-gambling sectors, gambling revenue still remains a significant portion of Macau’s revenue, with a 26 percent increase in Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) compared to the same period last year. This underscores the challenge and the opportunity that lies ahead for Macau as it navigates its path towards economic diversification.

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