Macau generated MOP19.3bn (£1.9bn/€2.2bn/$2.4bn) in revenue in January, its second highest figure since reopening following the Covid-19 pandemic.
Only Macau’s October 2023 revenue number of MOP19.5bn surpassed the first month of 2024, a strong start to the year and with the Chinese New Year just around the corner.
January’s GGR was a hefty 67% increase on the same month last year, while it was also a 4.1% hike on December 2023.
Despite the figures, Macau’s January GGR still fell 14.4% behind the MOP22.1bn recorded in the final January before the pandemic started.
Macau’s Covid recovery expected to continue
Macau’s response to the devastating Covid-19 lockdown has been impressive, with 2023’s cumulative gross income of MOP183.1bn a 333.8% year-on-year increase. While that is still just 59.8% of the final full year before Covid, the growth seen since the easing of lockdown restrictions is expected to continue.
In early-January, Fitch Ratings altered its outlook on SJM Holdings from “negative” to “stable”, in large part due to the continued growth in regards to visitation and gaming revenue in Macau, where SJM has heavily invested into its integrated Grand Lisboa Palace Resort.
Macau’s success also stands to benefit Las Vegas Sands, with its success in the region driving revenue up to $10.4bn for its 2023 financial year. Macau was a huge factor in that growth, with revenue rocketing 303.1% to $6.6bn.
With Covid restrictions only largely cancelled in Macau in January of last year, Sands chief executive and chairman Rob Goldstein has lofty expectations for the region.
“There is an ongoing speculation of the future growth of Macau,” Goldstein said. “Can the Macau market grow to $30bn, $35bn, even $40bn and beyond? We believe that it will.”
The fact Macau is now flourishing is made even more impressive when considering the struggles of China, which holds sovereignty over Macau. Lottery ticket sales in China for November 2023 decreased 2.5% year-on-year, while sports lottery sales were also down 13.3% from the same month last year.
Jockey Club forced to cease operations
Despite the success seen in Macau gambling, one area that is yet to take off is horse racing. So much so, that the Macau Horse Racing Company has agreed to cease offering horse racing from 1 April 2024.
The company – which operates the Macau Jockey Club – signed an agreement with the special administrative region’s government. This agreement terminated the concession awarded to the Club to exclusively operate horse racing in Macau.
Lei Wai Nong, secretary for economy and finance, signed the agreement on behalf of the government.
In the statement, the company blamed its cumulative loss of over MOP2.5bn on the “limited room for development and growth”, as well as the “adverse effect” of the pandemic.