Macau’s January gaming revenue soars 67%, hitting $2.4 billion as tourism surges

Macau has commenced 2024 on a strong note, revealing a substantial 67% year-over-year increase in gaming revenue for January, reaching MOP$19.3 billion (US$2.4 billion). The surge is attributed to heightened tourism levels throughout 2023.

Although specific tourism statistics for January are pending, December 2023 marked the highest number of visitor arrivals since January 2020, sustaining a trend observed over the past year. December recorded a total of 2,943,930 visitors, with an average per-capita spending of MOP$2,366 ($293.87) in Q3.

In terms of gaming revenue trends, Macau experienced a brief dip in February last year, followed by a consistent upward trajectory throughout the rest of the year. January’s figures, showing a 4% increase from December, maintain this trend. The positive performance is crucial as it precedes the Chinese New Year, scheduled from February 10 to February 24.

If the January pace is sustained annually, GGR is projected to surpass 180 billion patacas ($146.56 billion) at an annualized rate. Consequently, as per the 10-year concession contracts with the city’s government, casino firms would be obligated to augment non-gaming investments by a minimum of 20% for the period spanning 2023 to 2032.

Earlier, Citigroup had forecasted Macau’s GGR for January 2024 to potentially reach MOP 17.5 billion (US$2.2 billion), indicating a recovery to 70% of 2019 levels, while JPMorgan had predicted the January GGR to range between MOP17.5 billion to MOP18 billion. In the end, Macau surpassed expectations at MOP$19.3 billion, indicating 78% of 2019 levels.

In a separate research report, Morgan Stanley expresses continued positivity towards Macau’s gaming industry, predicting that gaming companies will outpace China’s consumer market in earnings. The brokerage suggests that industry valuations have declined excessively. Key considerations for stock selection this year will center around market share trends and corporate operating leverage levels, the report said.