Macau Casino Revenue Hits Four-Year High Despite Government Gambling Crackdown

November 2nd, 2018 | by Greg Shaun

Casino revenue in Macau hit a four-year high in October, despite continued efforts by the Chinese government to crackdown on gambling.

Macau casinos

Casinos in Macau enjoy a four-year revenue high thanks, in part, to China’s Golden Week holiday. (Image: Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

According to the latest figures released by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, Macau’s casinos raked $3.38 billion last month. As well as being 2.6 percent higher than October 2017’s earnings, the latest monthly haul is the region’s highest since 2014.

Macau Casinos on a High

Helping to push Macau casino revenue to its 27th consecutive increase was China’s Golden Week holiday. The semi-annual seven-day holiday saw hotel visitor rates increase by seven percent, activity which translated into improved earnings on casino floors across Macau.

Thanks to the recent revenue surge, Reuters has reported a bullish sentiment among Macau casino owners. However, in taking a deeper analysis, Bloomberg offered a more cautious outlook.

“October’s result is the clearest signal yet that China’s slowing economy and the trade war between Beijing and Washington is weighing on the outlook for the world’s biggest gaming center,” wrote Bloomberg’s Daniela Wei.

As well as recent casino closures, Wei noted this was the second straight month of single-digit growth. With October traditionally being one the busiest months for casinos in Macau, the analyst believes the four-year high may not be as impressive as it first seems.

Success Despite Adversity

What’s undeniable is that Macau’s fortunes are on the rise at a time when Chinese officials are doing everything they can to prevent any form of illegal gambling. In October, the government continued its move against online poker by shutting two major operators.

The seizures came just a few weeks after the government had issued a ban on free-play poker apps.

Despite the desire to outlaw activities described as “inappropriate” by local authorities, China’s appetite for gaming doesn’t appear to be waning. With Macau being the only part of China where betting is legal, mainlanders regularly travel to the offshore enclave to ante up.

However, with Tencent now unable to promote poker and, in turn, casinos in Macau, fears are that a crackdown will hurt the region. While that may happen in the long-term, the recent results suggest the impact might not be as dramatic as some believe it will be.


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