Macau was able to find some solid ground in 2021, despite ongoing global issues with COVID-19. The level of activity for the year wasn’t where the casino hub thought it would be, but it was a huge step in the right direction. As the pandemic continues to cause problems, whether Macau will see more growth in 2022 isn’t certain.
Macau Casinos Keep Treading Water
According to data from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ, for its Portuguese acronym), Macau had full-year gross gaming revenue in Macau of MOP$86.86 billion (US$10.82 billion) in 2021. This is a 43.7% increase over 2020, but 70.3% less than what was recorded in 2019.
The final 2021 figure is the result of a strong end to the year. December GGR reached MOP$7.96 billion (US$991.4 million), an improvement of 1.8% year-on-year and 18.0% month over month.
It also highlights the rising number of visitors since Macau and Zhuhai border restrictions were lifted on October 19.
The Macau Public Security Police Force reported last week that it had received more than 95,000 visitor visits December 24-26. This includes 40,284 on Friday, December 24, the third-highest daily visitor total of the year. Visitors to Macau reached 40,000 for the first time since May 1.
Quarantine Rules Return to Macau
The Macau government announced tighter quarantine measures for travelers from areas deemed to be “very high-risk.” According to local authorities, the new rules will apply from midnight on January 6 and cover an aggregate of 22 countries.
These measures apply to people who arrive via the Philippines, Cambodia, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Iran, Brazil, Turkey, Russia, and the U.S. The list also includes several African countries, including South Africa (Botswana), Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique, and Malawi.
Travelers from high-risk regions will need to show proof of at least three negative COVID-19 nucleic acids tests. These results must be presented prior to departure to Macau. According to Macau’s health authorities, these travelers will be placed under a 28-day quarantine upon arrival.
The existing rules required that people who arrived from high-risk regions had to show proof of at least three negative COVID-19 tests within the last seven days. They also had to have proof of a minimum of 24 hours between each test.
All foreigners arriving in Macau must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours. After that, they will be quarantined for 21 days.
Hong Kong, China Travel Still Relaxed
Macau recently reported a couple of COVID-19 cases that were identified as the omicron variant. Both cases were imported from other locations. The appearance followed shortly after the city eased its travel rules between Hong Kong and certain portions of mainland China, historically its two largest feeder markets.
As of now, Macau is maintaining its travel guidance for Hong Kong and China. However, if new COVID-19 cases emerge, mandatory quarantines could be reintroduced for travelers from those two areas, as well.