Zeng Zhonglu, Macau

Zeng Zhonglu, a gaming scholar, has estimated that Macau’s gross gaming revenues could reach up to 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels in 2023, at MOP175.47 billion ($21.84 billion) as the territory aims to rebound from nearly three years of lackluster gaming results under COVID restrictions.

Zeng Zhonglu, from the Macao Polytechnic University’s Gaming Research Team, told public broadcaster TDM that “the most difficult time has now passed” and that the economic recession had “bottomed out”.

The figure bodes well for Macau’s gaming concessionaires, whose new licenses came into effect on January 1st, with expectations for increased visitation due to pent-up demand, despite Macau’s health secretary estimating that about half of the population has COVID.

MACAU-GGR-DECEMBER-2022

Numerous countries, including South Korea, the United States and Australia are now requiring negative nucleic acid test results from arrivals from China, Hong Kong and Macau, which could slightly dampen visitation for those wishing to travel on to those markets.

Speaking to the broadcaster, the scholar also noted his prediction was based on the strong rebound seen in Las Vegas after COVID measures were relaxed and business ramped back up, seeing GGR reach over $13.4 billion in 2021, even better than 2019.

Zeng is also estimating that January GGR could recover to 40 to 50 percent of the same month in 2019.

Macau_GGR-2019-2022
GGR 2022 vs 2019

Officials are also closely watching the industry to push economic recovery in the SAR, with the city’s top official in his New Year’s address noting that Macau had successfully changed its gaming law and undergone the gaming concession tender, paving the way forward for Macau to progress in 2023.