Macau casinos posted their best gaming month since January 2020 in March, delivering gross gaming revenue (GGR) of MOP 12.738 billion ($1.58 billion), according to information from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. The figure represents a 23% improvement from February, but most notably a 247% surge when compared to March 2022.
March’s figures mark the highest monthly haul for the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019. After three years of travel restrictions and occasional lockdowns, resulting from China’s stringent “zero-Covid” strategy, the 38-month high signals Macau’s economy is finally reaching the much-awaited post-pandemic recovery.
With March’s numbers factored in, GGR for the first quarter totals approximately $4.3 billion, almost double the amount the hub’s six casino operators won in January through March 2022. Key in achieving these results was the relaxation of pandemic-related measures: the city’s borders are now again open to mainlanders and people arriving from Hong Kong and Taiwan; and entry testing, mandatory quarantines and observation periods are no longer required.
Macau’s recovery is further supported by visitation data. The Chinese SAR welcomed 1.6 million visitors in February – the highest monthly total since January 2020. Ferry and bus services between Macau and Hong Kong also resumed for the first time in almost three years, further boosting figures. The Macau Statistics and Census Service has yet to supply data for March.
Amid the city’s casino industry recovery, gaming analysts at Morgan Stanley recently upgraded their outlook for Macau’s six gaming operators. The investment bank found better-than-expected business margins and visitor numbers in the region since the end of “zero-Covid.”