HONG KONG: Casino revenue in Macau fell 51% to an 18-year low in 2022, as Beijing’s zero-Covid restrictions kept away tourists from mainland China.
The tally of 42.1 billion patacas (US$5.23 billion) represented just 14% of the amount logged in 2019, before the spread of the coronavirus.
Revenue recovered somewhat in 2021 as new infections slowed, but a resurgence of cases in 2022 led China to impose a series of tougher restrictions.
Around 4.8 million mainland tourists visited Macau in the January-November period, down 24% on the year. By comparison, 27 million mainland tourists visited the territory in all of 2019.
China has since begun scaling back its zero-Covid policies. Macau is also easing restrictions, scrapping mandatory quarantines for new arrivals.
Around 28,000 tourists entered Macau on Saturday, according to Hong Kong media. Morgan Stanley has predicted that Macau’s recovery will accelerate in late January once regular travel from mainland China and Hong Kong resumes.
The Macau government in December renewed casino licenses for six operators, including Sands China. The companies plan to invest a combined 118.8 billion patacas in the territory over the next decade, largely in non casino related areas.