April 1, 2024 3 min read


Macau on the Road to Recovery Pushed by Mass Market Segment

The Special Administrative Region saw a significant uptick in gross gaming revenue and visitation for 2023

Currently, there are tough restrictions when it comes to gambling in China. The country doesn’t permit poker, casino gambling or iGaming activities, with the sole exception being Macau, China’s Special Administrative Region. For two decades, Macau has been growing its position as a leading gambling hub for the Asian region. However, the COVID-19 pandemic which started in 2020 and the subsequent closures had a detrimental impact on the gambling sector in Macau.

While COVID-related restrictions were lifted over the last few years, fears about the recovery in Macau began to mount. To make matters worse, China’s crackdown on gambling impacted Macau as well, considering the downfall of the once popular casino junket operators. A few years ago, there were more than 100 junket operators, a number that decreased to less than a dozen now. However, the transition from the VIP focus to the mass segment is undoubtedly going to help Macau return to its former glory.

The resumption of traveling tourists from Mainland China helped boost the results of Macau’s gambling operators. In fact, the focus of operators on the mass market is already reaping benefits, considering financial and visitation data. A recent report released by the Financial Times, reveals that gross gaming revenue (GGR) in Macau soared in 2023.

In total, the GGR last year hit $22.8 million, marking a significant increase when compared to the $5.3 billion result reported a year earlier, in 2022. Although the result was still far from the whopping $36.5 million in GGR posted in pre-pandemic 2019, the latest increase shows that the industry is on the path to recovery and return to pre-pandemic levels.

Visitation to Macau Soars

A comparison to the reported GGR for Nevada, the home of the gambling capital of the world, Las Vegas, shows that the GGR in Macau last year was higher. Nevada posted $15.5 million in GGR for 2023, a far-cry from Macau’s $22.8 million result.

Besides revenue, as noted, the lifting of travel restrictions helped boost visitation. Data from Wind reveals that in January last year, 990,000 people from Mainland China visited Macau. The number of visitors from Hong Kong was 0.36 million while visitors from other jurisdictions were only 0.05 million. In contrast, for January this year, the number of visitors from all aforementioned locations soared.

This January, some 2.06 million Mainland China residents visited Macau, a result that marked an increase of more than two times. Similarly, the number of visitors from Hong Kong soared to 0.55 million, while 0.26 million residents from other countries also visited the gambling hub.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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