Casino venues in Macau have started reaping the positive effects of returning patrons to the city.
The special administrative region (SAR) is currently the only place in China where gambling is legal, which is why it managed to turn into a popular gambling destination not only in the region but also on a global scale. Unfortunately, the last few years have not been easy for Macau.
The lockdown measures and border closures associated with the Covid-19 outbreak saw the number of visitors come to literally non-existent, eventually leading to a casino revenue crash. On the other hand, an ongoing regulatory crackdown carried out by the Chinese Government in an effort to protect the interest of local high-roller customers, has caused further difficulties for gambling operators in the SAR.
However, good times seem to be back for Macau, as punters are now getting back to the recently reopened gambling hub and this has been having a positive effect on the earnings of local gambling operators. The upward trend was particularly visible in the earnings announced by one of the major players in the Macau gambling sector, Las Vegas Sands, which currently owns a number of resorts in the SAR, such as The Londoner and The Venetian.
Earlier this week, the US-based casino and gambling giant reported revenue of $2.8 billion generated in the most recent quarter. The result managed to beat preliminary analysts’ estimates of $2.72 billion and more than doubled the $1.01-billion revenue that Las Vegas Sands reported in 2022. The result was confirmed by the company’s boss Robert Goldstein, who shared how happy he was to see travel volumes recover in Macau and Singapore, where the company operates another casino.
Casino Patrons Return to Gaming Tables in Macau Following Relaxed Covid-19 Measures
Other casinos in Macau are also enjoying a recovery, too.
MGM China revealed that it generated an unaudited revenue of $1.2 billion for the first six months of 2023, with the figure doubling the amount reported a year earlier. The company is set to unveil its earnings in the latest quarter at the end of October.
SJM Holdings, which owns and operates one of the iconic casino properties in Macau – the Grand Lisboa Palace Resort – reported a 127% year-on-year surge in revenue for the first six months of 2023.
For the time being, Macau is still the only region in China where gambling, and more specifically, casino gambling, is legal. The local gambling industry generated more than 50% of the gross domestic product of the city and provided employment for about 17% of the city’s population of 600,000 people before the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in 2019. Reportedly, casinos in Macau generated about $36 billion in revenue in 2019.
However, the full collapse of travel during the Covid-19 pandemic had an extremely negative impact on the city. The Chinese Government has also contributed to the hard times that are being faced by the gambling sector in the special administrative region by unveiling strict crackdown measures on so-called junket operators that have allegedly helped high-roller customers enter gambling destinations and spend large amounts of money there.