While gross gambling income in December was also 15.7% higher in Macau than the MOP16bn recorded in November, it fell short of the MOP19.5bn accumulated in October.
December was no doubt another strong month for Macau, however, taking the region to MOP183.1bn in cumulative gross income for 2023. This is 333.8% higher than the MOP42.2bn collected in the entirety of 2022.
Macau continuing to hit back from pandemic
Macau’s December income total was its second highest since before the Covid-19 pandemic. The constant year-on-year growth in Macau is largely down to the removal of all restrictions related to the disease.
Last year, casinos in Macau faced temporary closure, while travel to and from the region was restricted. However, the continued elimination of such hurdles has led to stunning financial growth, with visitors from outside China no longer having to quarantine.
One of the leading operators to benefit from such easing of restrictions in Macau was Melco Resorts & Entertainment. It reported a revenue hike of 320.6% to $1.02bn in Q3, with casino revenue jumping 346.2% to $812.1m.
Melco also posted $280.6m in positive adjusted EBITDA for the quarter. This was compared to a loss of $34.9m in the same period of 2022.
Macau success in spite of China struggles
Macau’s growth is made even more impressive when compared to the performances of China, which holds sovereignty over the region.
Lottery ticket sales in China for November decreased 2.5% year-on-year, while sports lottery sales were also down 13.3% from the same month last year.
However, welfare lottery sales reached CNY33.6bn (£3.7bn/€4.3bn/$4.7bn) across the country, a 29.5% year-on-year increase.
Southeast Asia, not Macau, expected to fuel regional gambling growth
Despite Macau’s recent success in attracting tourists and generating revenue, it still might not be the main driver of growth in the region.
In November, iGB looked at how Southeast Asia represents the greatest opportunity in the region’s gaming galaxy. It is also billed as the greatest competitive danger to established casino destinations, most notably Macau.
Industry expert Daniel Cheng even predicted the ASEAN bloc will overtake Japan within this decade. He added that too will become smaller in economic power than only the US, China and the European Union.