The world’s largest gambling market saw another sign of a strong recovery from the COVID-induced dip in gaming revenue as casinos won more than $1 billion from gamblers for the third straight month.
According to numbers released by the Gaming Inspection & Coordination Bureau, gaming operators in the former Portuguese colony won $1.3 billion from gamblers in May. Those numbers represent a 492.2% year-over-year increase and the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year growth.
It’s also a 24% increase from the $1.1 billion casinos won in April. The April numbers were slightly below what Bloomberg analysts were predicting, but May’s numbers overshot those same predictions. It’s the first time in four months that actual numbers were larger than the predictions.
According to a report from the Hong Kong Standard, a key to the success in May stemmed from increased tourism to the area, specifically from mainland China. The government continued to relax travel restrictions to Macau and tourists flooded to the area over the Golden Week holiday.
The daily visitor arrival rate in Macau continued its uptrend in May. According to numbers from the Macau Government Tourism Office, there were approximately 167,000 tourists that came to the area during the five-day holiday with 93% of them coming from the mainland.
Gambling revenue quickly fell after Golden Week concluded. Non-Golden Week gaming revenue was actually 10% lower than April’s numbers. One analyst wrote that the drop-off shows that the market doesn’t have as much demand as it used to without the holiday tourism.
Rates of visitor arrival is up 158% from February and 25% from April. The current numbers, however, are still down 21% from May 2019, before the pandemic.
Unfortunately, the number of new COVID-19 cases in China is climbing, which adds a little uncertainty in Macau’s path to a full recovery. If there is a large spike in cases, the government could reimpose certain travel restrictions that would hurt the tourism industry and ultimately, Macau’s gross gaming revenue.