Macau Briefs: HKZM bridge connects Macau to Hong Kong; Less options for poker players

News from Macau lately has been largely negative for both casino operators and poker players.

This could be set to change to some degree, with an important new bridge linking Macau to Hong Kong having now been opened. This should help the flow of new money into Macau during the coming months.

World’s longest sea crossing connects Macau to Hong Kong

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge
Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge

Two days ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping has officially opened the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau (HKZM) bridge, nine years after construction first began.

The new bridge is the world’s longest sea crossing, spanning 34 miles (55km), and taking 9 years to build. While the bridge will not be freely open to all traffic, bus shuttle services will carry people the length of the crossing, making several trips back and forth each day. This makes travelling to Macau a less strenuous journey, which could cause a spike in visitor numbers. If this does happen, it should translate to a boost in business for local casinos.

Casino industry’s worst month

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Macau – Photo Andrew Moore

Profits in the Macau Casino business are undoubtedly large compared to places like Las Vegas, but that does not necessarily mean that all is well within the industry in this part of the world. After a difficult period a few years ago, Macau saw 25 months of growth in this sector. This month however, that growth had stalled significantly, and growth was very small at just 2.8%. This went against predicted growth of 3-10% and had many casino operators in Macau fearing for what the coming months might bring. The slowing of China’s economic growth and a typhoon in September are cited as important factors in this turn of events, but as President Trump ramps up his trade war measures against China, the first of those issues seems unlikely to improve in October.

Less options for poker players

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Macau Billionaire

News are not better for poker players. PokerStars closed their poker room at City of Dreams earlier this year, and players are still waiting for an announcement regarding the relocation of the venue.

The Billionaire Poker Room was forced to cancel its MBP Summer Showdown event in June, and has been unable to host the APT Finale which has been relocated in the Philippines. The event will take place at Resort World Manila from November 27 to December 6.

This marks a stark contrast to the Super High Roller Bowl China event hosted last March  in the same venue which saw a great turnout, with Justin Bonomo taking home the USD$4.8 million prize for 1st place. The poker room appears to be closed for now, but there has been no official announcement on the subject yet.

Poker King Club is still hosting tournaments at the Venetian but it’s clear that players are hungry for more.

Article by Craig Bradshaw