Macau registered its third-highest monthly gaming revenue of 2022 in October, earning some MOP3.89 billion ($482.66 million) in revenue during the period.

The figure amounts to a monthly uptick of 31.6 percent and a yearly downturn of 10.7 percent. While the positive monthly comparison bodes well for the city – which is in the midst of another small-scale outbreak, it also took into account the Golden Week holiday in early October.

Cumulatively, GGR for 2022 was down 50.5 percent compared to 2021, totalling just MOP35.71 billion. The whole of 2021 so far equates to less than the MOP36.47 billion brought in in just one month, in October 2013, during the territory’s heyday.

Despite the weak data, analysts at Deutsche Bank are predicting an upturn in the final quarter, with revenue reaching $1.83 billion – a 24 percent yearly fall and an 80 percent drop compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, pre-pandemic.

Estimates by the analysts further indicate a resurgence in 2023, with full-year revenues expected to reach $20.03 billion, a 245 percent yearly improvement. This still equates to a 45 percent drop when compared to 2019.

Despite the optimism, mainland China’s leadership has demonstrated its intention to continue its zero-COVID approach, as evidenced in its most recent high-level meeting where party leader Xi Jinping was sworn in for an unprecedented third-term. Given Macau’s near-absolute dependency on mainland punters and visitors, Macau policies are likely to continue to strictly align with those set out by the central government.

However, the opening of e-visa and group tour visas for Macau bodes well for the territory, further facilitating access by its primary market source – the Guangdong province. The recent requirement by Macau authorities limiting anyone leaving Macau for the mainland via transport – maritime or aerial – to provide a negative NAT test taken within 24 hours, could soften this effect. As in previous outbreaks in Macau, concern over ease of return to mainland China has reduced interest in travel to the SAR.

As of Wednesday morning, no new cases had been announced following Macau’s mass testing of its entire population, but the city’s health chief has hinted that a second mass testing could take place, following the passage of Typhoon Nalgae – expected to largely affect the region through Wednesday evening. In the meantime, residents and visitors are required to undergo RATs daily until November 4th.

Nearly 1,600 staff and clients of MGM Cotai remain under observation and unable to leave the premises due to a croupier being identified as COVID-positive. No date has yet been given for when this observation will end or when the facilities can be reopened. No other integrated resort has yet been indicated as having a link to any of the new cases.

Kelsey Wilhelm is a broadcast, print journalist and editor based in Asia for over 15 years. Focused on content creation, management, cross-cultural exchange and interviews for multi-lingual productions. Writing focus on gaming, business, politics, culture and heritage, events and celebrities, subcultures, music, film, art and fashion. Some of Kelsey's specialties are: editing, writing, copy creation, multi-lingual content production, cross-cultural exchange, content creation and management for Asian markets.