Macau recorded sales of MOP 19.3 billion (£1.9 billion/€2.2 billion/$2.4 billion) in January, the second highest since reopening following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Only Macau’s October 2023 revenue of MOP 19.5 billion surpassed the first month of 2024, a strong start to the year and with Chinese New Year just around the corner.

The GGR in January was a sharp increase of 67% compared to the same month last year, while in December 2023 it also increased by 4.1%.

Despite the numbers, Macau’s January GDP still fell 14.4% short of the MOP 22.1 billion recorded last January before the start of the pandemic.

Macau’s Covid recovery is expected to continue

Macau’s response to the devastating Covid-19 lockdown has been impressive: cumulative gross revenue in 2023 was MOP 183.1 billion, an increase of 333.8% year-on-year. While this is still only 59.8% of the last full year before Corona, the growth seen since lockdown restrictions were eased is likely to continue.

In early January, Fitch Ratings changed its outlook for SJM Holdings to “stable” from “negative,” due in large part to continued growth in visitor and gaming revenue in Macau, where SJM has invested heavily in its integrated Grand Lisboa Palace Resort.

Macau’s success also benefits Las Vegas Sands, as success in the region increases revenue to up to $10.4 billion in fiscal year 2023. Macau was a key driver of this growth, with revenue increasing 303.1% to $6.6 billion.

With Covid restrictions largely lifted in Macau only in January last year, Sands CEO and Chairman Rob Goldstein has high expectations for the region.

“There is ongoing speculation about Macau’s future growth,” Goldstein said. “Can the Macau market grow to $30 billion, $35 billion or even $40 billion and beyond? We believe it will be.”

The fact that Macau is now thriving becomes even more impressive when one considers the struggles of China, which holds sovereignty over Macau. Sales of lottery tickets in China fell 2.5% year-on-year in November 2023, while sales of sports lotteries also fell 13.3% compared to the same month last year.

The Jockey Club had to cease operations

Despite the success that gambling has seen in Macau, horse racing is an area that has not yet taken off. So much so that the Macau Horse Racing Company has agreed to stop offering horse racing from April 1, 2024.

The company that operates the Macau Jockey Club signed an agreement with the SAR government. This agreement terminated the club’s concession to exclusively conduct horse racing in Macau.

Lei Wai Nong, Minister of Economy and Finance, signed the agreement on behalf of the government.

In the statement, the company blamed its cumulative loss of over MOP 2.5 billion on the “limited space for development and growth” as well as the “adverse impact” of the pandemic.