Macau’s casinos recorded gross gaming revenue (GGR) of MOP10.32 billion ($1.27 billion) in February, the third-highest monthly GGR figure since January 2020, despite the month having no public holidays and three fewer days than January.
According to information from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), the February total was 33.1 percent higher than February 2022 and circa 11 percent lower than January, when GGR reached MOP11.58 billion ($1.43 billion) – its highest peak since 2020.
However, the figure for February is still only 41 percent of the MOP25.04 billion ($3.1 billion) recorded in February 2019.
Gaming revenues had slumped as low as MOP398 million ($49 million) in July 2022, at the height of Macau’s first main COVID outbreak.
Among the upturn, Macau casino operators have lifted requirements for clients and staff to wear masks inside their venues, starting this week. The decision was made following the relaxation of mask requirements by the SAR government.
Many gaming operators, during their 4Q22 earnings calls, have noted that Macau has been seeing a solid recovery this year, prompted by the Chinese New Year holiday period, which fell entirely in January.
Expectations were high for February GGR, and it didn’t disappoint, however, it’s still a far cry from that recorded in January 2020, shortly before COVID restrictions were fully implemented, when revenues reached MOP22.13 billion ($2.74 billion).
Macau’s GGR scenario has changed drastically since January 8th of this year, when the government canceled most of its travel restrictions, dropping all testing requirements for inbound visitors from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Ferry and bus services between Macau and Hong Kong also resumed in January, for the first time in almost three years, prompting Chinese New Year visitor numbers to reach 451,057 during the Golden Week holiday, a rise of nearly 300 percent over visitation during CNY 2022 – although the tourism figure was still only 37.5 percent of the 2.21 million visitors seen during Golden Week in 2019.