February’s gambling revenue in Macau was up massively year-over-year as the market passed the one-year mark since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in China.
According to numbers released by the Gaming Inspection & Coordination Bureau, the casino market in the former Portuguese colony won $15.14 million from gamblers during the month. Those figures represent a 135.6% year-over-year increase from February 2020.
It’s not a complete apples-to-apples comparison, however as the pandemic hit China before the rest of the world. For 15 days in February 2020, the government forced casinos to shutter, which crushed earnings for the month since properties were only open for less than half the month.
It’s a slight decline from the $1 billion won by casinos in January, but the three fewer days could account for that difference. Revenue is still down 71%, however from February 2019 before the virus began ravaging gambling markets worldwide.
The increase snaps a 17-month streak of year-over-year declines as the market was experiencing a pullback even before the virus was introduced into the world.
Tourism to Macau generally increases during February, but arrivals to Macau dropped by 65 percent as the government urged citizens to stay home. Despite the warnings, Chinese officials allowed tourists to enter Macau from the mainland, which sent casino stocks soaring, according to a report from Yahoo! Finance.
Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands Corp and MGM Resorts all saw spikes earlier this week. Las Vegas Sands Corp recently sold its Las Vegas properties so that it can focus its efforts on the Asian markets. It also renamed itself Sands Corp.
The government removed restrictions for citizens from the mainland to enter as well, which should further boost the market’s recovery in the coming months.