Macau’s casino revenue surges: December up 433%, annual total hits 62.6% pre-Covid mark at $22.75 billion

Macau’s casino industry demonstrated resilience in December, defying China’s weakened consumer spending trends with a staggering 433% increase in gaming revenue.

According to data released by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, gross gaming revenue for the month reached 18.6 billion patacas ($2.3 billion), representing 81.3% of the pre-Covid December 2019 levels and surpassing analyst estimates, Bloomberg reported.

For the entire year, gaming income in Macau totaled 183.1 billion patacas ($22.75 billion), showcasing a steady recovery in the gaming sector in the first year following China’s easing of Covid-related restrictions. The industry’s robust performance persisted even as China faced an economic slowdown triggered by a property market crisis.

While consumer sentiment weakened, Macau’s casinos benefited from a shift in spending patterns, with tourists favoring entertainment and instant gratification activities over luxury purchases, the report said. Premium gamblers continued to spend at levels above 2019, and high-end customers visited Macau more frequently despite China’s overall consumption decline.

Operators reported an average minimum bet across Macau in mid-December that was 12% higher than pre-pandemic levels, the report said. Despite economic uncertainties, players appeared less concerned than investors, as noted in a Citigroup Inc. survey.

However, the recovery trajectory is not without challenges. The crackdown on high-rollers and capital outflows in China led to the decline of Macau’s VIP sector, which contributed significantly to the city’s gambling income before the pandemic. Analysts predict that it may take several years for gaming revenue to fully recover, with expectations that it could reach about 76% of pre-pandemic levels in 2024.

Throughout the year, Macau consistently experienced increased revenue compared to the previous year:

  • January: Gross monthly income of MOP$11.6 billion (US$1.4 billion), an 83% increase.
  • February: Gross monthly income of MOP$10.3 billion (US$1.26 billion), a 33% increase.
  • March: Gross monthly income of MOP$12.7 billion (US$1.56 billion), a 247% increase.
  • April: Gross monthly income of MOP$14.7 billion (US$1.8 billion), a 450% increase.
  • May: Gross monthly income of MOP$15.6 billion (US$1.91 billion), a 366% increase.
  • June: Gross monthly income of MOP$15.2 billion (US$1.86 billion), a 514% increase.
  • July: Gross monthly income of MOP$16.7 billion (US$2.05 billion), a 4,083% increase.
  • August: Gross monthly income of MOP$17.2 billion (US$2.11 billion), a 686% increase.
  • September: Gross monthly income of MOP$14.9 billion (US$1.82 billion), a 404% increase.
  • October: Gross monthly income of MOP$19.5 billion (US$2.39 billion), the highest monthly income.
  • November: Gross monthly income of MOP$16 billion (US$1.96 billion), a 435% increase.