March marked a 38-month high for the six casino operators in the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) — the only place in China where commercial gambling is allowed. March represented a 23% improvement in February and a 247% surge compared with March 2022.
GGR for the first quarter totaled approximately $4.3 billion — almost double the amount the casinos won in January through March 2022.
After three years of travel restrictions, stringent entry rules, mass testing blitzes, and sporadic lockdowns — all of which resulted from China President Xi Jinping’s controversial “zero-COVID” response strategy — Macau’s economy is finally amid a pandemic recovery.
Macau’s borders are again open to mainlanders and people arriving from Hong Kong and Taiwan. Entry testing is no longer required, nor are mandatory quarantines or observation periods.
Foreigners arriving from anywhere else must still present a negative antigen or nucleic acid test for COVID-19 conducted within 48 hours of departure for Macau. But international travelers are also no longer subjected to quarantines or observations.
Business Remains Strong
Unlike much of the world, which experienced the most pandemic-related economic and daily life disruptions in 2020 and 2021, 2022 was the hardest COVID-19 year for Macau.
The isolated Chinese enclave was able to keep the virus out of the region for much of 2020 and 2021. But the disease finally made its way last year through Macau’s borders. After confirming only intermittent cases in 2020 and 2021, Macau last July ordered its casinos to shutter for 15 days after the region experienced its first major COVID-19 outbreak. GGR last year totaled just $5.25 billion.