Macau Casinos Reap $2.4B in October, Achieving Highest Monthly Revenue Since Pandemic Outbreak

Macau Casinos Experience Best Month Since COVID-19, Gross Gaming Revenue Reaches $2.42 Billion

Posted on: November 1, 2023, 09:24h. Last updated on: November 1, 2023, 09:24h.

Macau casinos had their best month since the COVID-19 pandemic in October, with gross gaming revenue (GGR) reaching $2.42 billion.

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

This marks the highest monthly revenue since January 2020 when the six casino operators won $2.75 billion. Following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic that originated in China, Macau’s gaming industry suffered from February 2020.

Between February 2020 and 2022, Macau casinos only achieved a GGR of at least MOP10 billion once. However, the end of China President Xi Jinping’s “zero-COVID” policy last year initiated Macau’s pandemic recovery.

Macau’s GGR for the first ten months of 2023 stands at $18.4 billion, a 316% increase compared to the same period last year. It is also 106% higher than the GGR for the same ten months in 2021 and 224% better than 2020.

Despite the positive growth, the $18.4 billion gaming win from January to October 2023 remains 40% lower than the revenue collected by the six casinos during the same period in pre-pandemic 2019.

The Rally Continues

Macau’s performance in October indicates a positive momentum in the industry with a 400% year-over-year surge.

Analysts believe that mass market play in the Chinese gaming enclave has fully recovered to its pre-COVID levels. The strong Golden Week in October contributed to this growth, with the holiday period seeing an influx of Chinese tourists visiting Macau. The surge in visitor numbers resulted in a gaming revenue surpassing expectations.

China’s National Day on October 1, which marks the establishment of the People’s Republic, also contributed to the increase in visitors. During the weeklong holiday, more than 932,000 people visited Macau.

Analysts at Citigroup and other firms projected October GGR to reach around MOP19 billion, indicating that the market exceeded expectations.

The End of COVID Restrictions

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

International travelers entering Macau are required 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. However, testing requirements are no longer in place.

Compared to October 2019, when Macau casinos won nearly $3.3 billion, and October 2018, when they won $3.4 billion, the market has changed significantly due to the reduced presence of junket groups. After the arrest of Alvin Chau, a prominent figure in Macau’s junket business, in November 2021, VIP trip organizers have largely left Macau. Chau was found guilty of multiple crimes and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Chau’s Suncity Group was accused of running illegal marketing campaigns and side gambling operations, resulting in the loss of $1 billion in tax revenue for the local government from 2013 to 2021.

The Macau SAR Government has released its full-year 2024 GGR forecast, projecting a revenue of MOP216 billion ($26.8 billion). This outlook takes into account the changing market dynamics, as Macau casinos reached a record-high revenue of $45 billion in 2013. Since then, the Chinese government has cracked down on money movement from the mainland to Macau through high-roller junket groups.

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