Macau casinos revenue jumps 82.5% in January after visitor surge

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The world’s largest gambling centre, Macau, reported an 82.5% increase in gaming income year on year to 11.6 billion patacas ($1.4 billion) in January after welcoming nearly 500,000 tourists during the seven-day Lunar New Year vacation.

The number of visitors was the highest in the last three years as the Macau government eased the restrictions for Mainland Chinese visitors on January 8. Macau casino shares went up by 3% to 5%.

Analysts feel that although January’s income was still less than half of the Lunar New Year period in 2019 before the COVID-19 epidemic, it is a promising indicator for a strong rebound to come, according to Reuters.

The company is witnessing a very robust comeback in Macau following the easing of COVID limitations, according to Rob Goldstein, chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands.

Since casinos are authorized in only one location in the country, Macau, and the government is following the Chinese zero-COVID policy, several restrictions were put on visitors to curb the pandemic. In hindsight, casino operators suffered major losses.

A Sands executive said that the company was not operating some hotels to capacity due to labor shortages, which are becoming obvious as resorts and retail establishments scramble to hire more workers to meet demand.

Earlier in January, the chairman of the tourism bureau said that they anticipate an average of 47,000 visitors per day in the upcoming days, with some days seeing a peak of 55,000 people. While more visitors are a great sign for operators, they faced labor shortages due to a sudden surge in the visitor count.

Macau will also be hosting the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) Asia casino trade event in person this year. The events were canceled during 2020-2022 due to COVID restrictions and will be the first casino event after 2019 in the country.