Macau Casinos Achieve Record-Breaking $2.4B Win in October, Marking Their Strongest Performance Since the Pandemic


Posted on: November 1, 2023, 09:24h. 

Last updated on: November 1, 2023, 10:04h.

Macau casinos recorded outstanding performance in October, with gross gaming revenue (GGR) reaching MOP19.5 billion (US$2.42 billion).

Macau casinos gaming revenue GGR
Chinese tourists pack Macau’s streets during the 2023 Golden Week holiday on October 6. Macau casinos benefited from the influx of tourists, as gaming revenue topped $2.4 billion. (Image: AFP)

This represents the highest monthly revenue since January 2020, when the casino operators collected $2.75 billion. The COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected Macau’s gaming industry starting from February 2020.

Previously, Macau casinos only achieved GGR of MOP10 billion once from February 2020 to 2022. However, after China’s President Xi Jinping ended the “zero-COVID” policy last year, Macau started to recover from the pandemic’s impact.

Macau’s GGR for the first 10 months of 2023 is $18.4 billion, a remarkable 316% increase compared to last year. The total casino win in 2023 is also 106% higher than the same period in 2021 and 224% higher than 2020.

Nevertheless, the $18.4 billion revenue from January to October 2023 is still 40% below the amount collected by the six casinos during the same period in pre-pandemic 2019.

Rally Rolls On

The strong performance of Macau’s casinos in October indicates positive growth in the industry, with a 400% year-over-year surge.

Industry analysts believe that mass-market play has fully recovered to pre-COVID levels in the Chinese gaming enclave. The surge in October can be attributed to a successful Golden Week, which took place from September 29 to October 6. This holiday period provides most mainland workers with a week of paid time off.

During the weeklong holiday, more than 932K people visited the Special Administrative Region (SAR) to commemorate National Day on October 1. Analysts at Citigroup and other institutions projected October GGR to be around MOP19 billion, indicating that the market slightly exceeded expectations.

Market Changes

As of August 30, 2023, China has lifted travel restrictions on its citizens and foreigners.

International travelers entering Macau only need to complete a Customs Health Declaration form, affirming that they do not have COVID-19 or have been in close proximity to anyone who does. Testing requirements are no longer in place.

Although Macau casinos won nearly $3.3 billion in October 2019 and $3.4 billion in October 2018, the market has changed significantly due to the decrease in junket groups. VIP trip organizers have largely left Macau after Alvin Chau, the prominent figure in the junket business, was arrested in November 2021 and convicted of various crimes.

Chau was found guilty of fraud, illegal gambling, and criminal association, and sentenced to 18 years in prison in January. Prosecutors successfully argued that Chau’s Suncity Group conducted illegal marketing campaigns and side gambling operations, resulting in $1 billion in lost tax revenue for the local government from 2013 to 2021.

On Tuesday, the Macau SAR Government issued its full-year 2024 GGR forecast, expecting MOP216 billion ($26.8 billion). This outlook reflects the changing market conditions, as Macau casinos reached a record $45 billion in 2013. After that year, Xi instructed the government to crack down on the flow of money from the mainland to Macau through high-roller junket groups.

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