Macau casino revenues surge as China reopens

STORY: Asia's gambling hub Macau saw revenues jump almost 83% year-on-year in January, hitting around $1.4 billion.

That's according to government data on Wednesday (February 1).

The city scrapped all inbound COVID testing requirements before the Lunar New Year Holiday, and saw nearly half a million visitors streaming into its casinos over the period.

That's a stark contrast to the lack of gamblers since 2020, when it closely followed the mainland’s zero-COVID strategy.

But while January’s data are an encouraging sign of recovery, revenue was still less than half of pre-COVID levels at the same time in 2019.

Macau, a special administrative region of China, is the only place in the country where gambling in casinos is legal.

January also marked the launch of new licenses for operators, with shorter 10-year contracts.

For the last 20 years, Wynn Macau, MGM China and others have raked in billions of dollars from gambling.

But the new contracts they signed bring in more regulatory oversight, after the industry bled billions over the last two years due to strict COVID rules, and as Beijing ordered a broader crackdown on capital outflows from the mainland.

Casinos have also been rocked by the arrest of several well-known gambling executives, and the demise of Macau’s once lucrative market for VIP junkets.

Investors were cheered by the latest figures though, with shares in casino operators up as much as 5% on Wednesday.