Macau casinos’ post-pandemic recovery in full swing

Matthew Calleja 1 year ago
Macau casinos’ post-pandemic recovery in full swing

Macau’s gambling industry is bouncing back to its pre-pandemic glory, with March 2023 delivering the highest gross gaming revenue (GGR) since January 2020.

A breath of fresh air for Macau’s gambling industry

Macau’s casino industry made a remarkable comeback in March, achieving a gross gaming revenue (GGR) of MOP 12.738 billion ($1.58 billion), making it the highest gaming revenue recorded since January 2020, based on data from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. This latest figure not only represents a 23% month-on-month improvement from February, but also an impressive 247% increase compared to the same period in 2022.

A major milestone for Macau in its recovery from Covid-19, as March’s gaming figures marked the highest monthly haul for the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) since the pandemic began in 2019. This remarkable 38-month high is a much-needed sign that Macau’s economy is finally beginning to see post-pandemic growth after three years of travel restrictions and occasional lockdowns due to China’s strict “zero-Covid” strategy.

The first quarter of 2023 looks very promising for Macau’s casino industry, with gross gaming revenue (GGR) reaching approximately $4.3 billion, almost double the GGR won by the hub’s six casino operators in the same period last year. This impressive performance is attributed to the relaxed pandemic-related measures, which include the reopening of the city’s borders to mainlanders, Hong Kongers, and Taiwanese visitors, and the lifting of entry testing, mandatory quarantines, and observation periods.

Macau’s gaming industry is enjoying a boost from an influx of visitors, with the city welcoming a staggering 1.6 million tourists in February alone. This marks the highest monthly total since January 2020 and provides a strong signal that the recovery is underway. Recent easing of travel restrictions has contributed to the uptick in visitation, including the resumption of ferry and bus services between Macau and Hong Kong for the first time in nearly three years. While data for March has yet to be released by the Macau Statistics and Census Service, industry insiders are optimistic that the trend will continue.

Gaming analysts at Morgan Stanley have upgraded their outlook for Macau’s six gaming operators amid the city’s casino industry recovery. The investment bank noted that the region has experienced better-than-expected business margins and visitor numbers since the end of “zero-Covid.”

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