Macau reported another strong month for its gaming sector as gross monthly revenue reached MOP$18.6 billion (£1.8 billion/€2.1 billion/$2.3 billion) in December, an increase of 433% compared to the previous year.

While Macau’s gross gambling revenue in December was also 15.7% higher than the MOP$16 billion recorded in November, it fell short of the MOP$19.5 billion accumulated in October.

However, December was undoubtedly another strong month for Macau, as the region recorded a cumulative gross income of MOP$183.1 billion in 2023. This is 333.8% more than the MOP$42.2 billion achieved in all of 2022.

Macau continues to recover from the pandemic

Macau’s total income in December was the second highest since before the COVID-19 pandemic. Macau’s consistent annual growth is largely due to the lifting of all restrictions related to the disease.

Last year, casinos in Macau were forced to temporarily close while travel to and from the region was restricted. However, the continued removal of such hurdles has led to staggering financial growth as visitors from outside China are no longer required to quarantine.

One of the leading operators to benefit from the easing of restrictions in Macau was Melco Resorts & Entertainment. In the third quarter, the company reported a 320.6% increase in revenue to $1.02 billion, with casino revenue increasing 346.2% to $812.1 million.

Melco also reported positive Adjusted EBITDA of $280.6 million for the quarter. That compared with a loss of $34.9 million in the same period in 2022.

Success in Macau despite the difficulties in China

Macau’s growth is even more impressive when compared to the achievements of China, which holds sovereignty over the region.

Sales of lottery tickets in China fell 2.5% year-on-year in November, while sales of sports lotteries also fell 13.3% compared to the same month last year.

However, social lottery sales nationwide reached CNY33.6 billion (£3.7 billion/€4.3 billion/$4.7 billion), an increase of 29.5% year-on-year.

Southeast Asia, not Macau, is expected to drive regional gaming growth

Despite Macau’s recent successes in attracting tourists and generating revenue, Macau may still not be the main driver of growth in the region.

In November, iGB examined how Southeast Asia represents the biggest opportunity in the region’s gaming galaxy. It is also considered the biggest competitive threat to established casino destinations, particularly Macau.

Industry expert Daniel Cheng even predicted that the ASEAN bloc will overtake Japan this decade. He added that the economic power will also become smaller than just the USA, China and the European Union.