The Macau casino market finished off 2020 with a 66% year-over-year drop in gambling revenue in December.
According to numbers released by the Gaming Inspection & Coordination Bureau, casinos won $979 million from gamblers. With the release of December’s results, it officially made 2020 the worst year in history for Macau casinos, winning a total of $7.6 billion.
The percentage fall for December was right in line with where analysts predicted the market would be, with most predicting a 68% decline in revenue, according to a report from the South China Morning Post. Since snapping a streak of six months with at least a 90% decline in gambling revenue in October, revenues have slowly but steadily gotten better. There was a 72.5% fall in October and a 70% dip in November before December’s numbers were released.
Heading into 2021, many analysts are somewhat bullish on the market, at least compared to its 2020 results.
Sanford C. Bernstein is predicting a return to 80% of what 2019 levels were when casinos won $36.47 billion. At the time, those 2019 numbers were one of the worst year-over-year declines in recent history, as it fell 3.4% from 2018. 2020 saw revenues plummet nearly 81% from 2019. If Bernstein’s prediction is correct, Macau gaming revenue will be roughly $29 billion in 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on Macau’s casinos, as it has to every gambling market worldwide. In Macau specifically, government restrictions on who can enter the city made it much tougher for operators to regain lost revenue.
For several months, the government began to relax those mandates, but that changed in December. In response to a new, more contagious strain of coronavirus emerging from the United Kingdom, the government wouldn’t allow any Chinese citizen who had been outside the country in the last three weeks into the city.
According to government figures, Macau has been COVID–free for the last six months, which is one of the longest streaks in the world. Though many doubt official numbers coming from the Chinese government.