Featured in this article:
  • Macau relies on China and Hong Kong for gambling tourism
  • Movement rules to be relaxed despite Omicron variant
  • Hong Kong to Macau takes 15 minutes by chopper

3 Minute Read

Macau gambling needs visitors from Hong Kong and China to remain a sustainable industry

International gamblers seeking to win their fortune in Macau may soon be able to visit Asia’s gambling haven from Hong Kong once more, as authorities look at easing travel restrictions.

Macau has sustained an economic blow since coronavirus effectively curtailed the steady flow of tourist gamblers to its shores last year.

Even the number of local Chinese gamblers have reduced in recent months. In fact, Reuters now report that Macau gambling junkets from the mainland will be stopped.

Yet the rise of the Omicron variant doesn’t appear to have prevented authorities pushing for a relaxation of border rules.

Speaking at a summit in Macau, Trip.com chairman James Liang said Thursday: “We expect next week the border between Hong Kong and Mainland China will be reopened.

“I hope with that happening travel between Hong Kong, Macau, Mainland China will improve pretty fast.”

It is understood that a “green” health code is being established between Hong Kong and Guangdong Province.

Under the system, anyone with the accepted pass will be able to cross the border without needing to quarantine.

And this would prove a major boost for Macau, whose casinos are desperate to welcome back tourist gamblers from elsewhere across the South China Sea.

Why Is Hong Kong Important To Macau?

Reports earlier this fall suggested Macau is all set to drop its quarantine requirements for incoming gamblers. And if the Green code system is successful then this would greatly reduce the region’s economic woes.

Macau attracts Chinese gamblers primarily because gambling in the rest of the country is illegal. While the Chinese authorities are concerned about the billions of yuan that flows out of the country via Macau, actually preventing tourists from travelling to the region is difficult.

As for Hong Kong, thousands of international visitors and even some locals travel to Macau via the special administrative region in order to enjoy a Las Vegas-style gambling experience.

Tourism revenue in Macau was hitting $40bn a year before Covid struck, and the region is working on becoming a more family-friendly, resort-style destination for the whole of East Asia.

It is hoped that reopening the borders between Macau, Hong Kong and mainland China will reignite the gambling industry across the region. But as Jonathan Halkyard, MGM Resorts International’s CFO, put it, the gambling market in Macau will “probably be bumpy over the next six or 12 months”.

How To Get From Hong Kong To Macau

Thousands of tourists travel from Hong Kong to Macau in order to enjoy the territory’s gambling scene. Some of the world’s biggest casino brands are located in Macau – and it’s no wonder billions of dollars runs through the region every year.

Tourists can get from Hong Kong to Macau via:

  • Ferry
  • Bus
  • Helicopter

Most tourists choose the ferry as it’s cheap and takes only an hour to make the crossing. A new bus route over the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge takes 40 minutes.

And if you’ve got $550 to spare you can take the chopper direct.

US tourists do not require a visa to visit Macau for less than 30 days. This is the same for visitors of Hong Kong.

Many tourists usually make Macau a day trip and visit the local sights as well as spend some time in the gambling halls.

However, there are plenty of hotel resorts in the territory and there are plans to expand Macau’s entertainment offering, in order to attract families to the region too.

Joseph Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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