The 41 casinos in Macau reportedly experienced a disappointing start to 2022 after seeing their aggregated gross gaming revenues for January plummet by a surprising 20.9% year-on-year to a little over $790.21 million.

According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming citing official information from the local Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau regulator, the figure for the 31-day period also represented a decline of 20.3% when compared with December’s finishing tally of approximately $999.52 million. The source detailed that the rather lacklustre result came as Macau heightened its border restrictions owing to the appearance of a small outbreak of coronavirus in the neighboring Chinese city of Zhuhai.

Serious slump:

Macau is home to some of the world’s largest and most prestigious casinos including the iconic Casino Grand Lisboa venue from SJM Holdings Limited as well as Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited’s 1,600-room Studio City Macau development. Nevertheless, the aggregated gross gaming revenues tally for last month reportedly equated to a dive of 74.6% when compared with the about $3.1 billion recorded for the same month in pre-pandemic 2019 while being 74.6% below the roughly $2.7 billion chalked up for the first month two years ago.

High-value headache:

Inside Asian Gaming reported that the depressing January figure could have moreover come as a result of the recent upheaval to the former Portuguese enclave’s VIP gaming market. The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau recently licensed an all-time low of just 46 casino junket firms for 2022 at the same time as two of the largest such enterprises, Suncity Group and Tak Chun Group, purportedly abandoned the once lucrative market altogether with their bosses facing serious illegal gambling and money laundering charges.

Licensing lag:

Adding to all of this and the Macau casino market is still awaiting the approval of new legislation that will allow the existing six-strong club of operators to keep their gambling concessions beyond an upcoming June deadline. SJM Holdings Limited, Sands China Limited, Galaxy Entertainment Group Limited, Wynn Macau Limited, Melco Resorts and Entertainment Limited and MGM China Holdings Limited are now purportedly hopeful of being permitted to extend their existing concessions by another decade to 2032 although with increased corporate social responsibility and non-gaming amenity obligations.

Deceptive dawn:

Macau reportedly ended 2021 with its annual aggregated gross gaming revenues having hit some $10.82 billion, which equated to an improvement of 43.7% on the previous year’s finishing tally of around $7.52 billion. Although last year started slow, things purportedly soon picked up with the city’s casinos having recorded an impressive uplift of 135.6% year-on-year in their combined February receipts to slightly over $910.79 million before going on to chalk up a year-best high of $1.3 billion for May.