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Phoenix of gambling: how Macau rose from the ashes of the pandemic and set new records in the gambling industry

It is a story about the resilience of the human spirit and the unquenchable love of risk and adventure.

There are places in the world where gambling and luxury come together to create a unique atmosphere. One such place is Macau, a former Portuguese colony and now a special administrative region of China. Known as the “Las Vegas of the East,” Macau was for years a magnet for gambling enthusiasts from around the world. But the COVID-19 pandemic dealt a devastating blow to this gambling paradise.

Now that the severe restrictions are behind us, Macau is experiencing a real renaissance, as its land-based casinos are no less popular than 1win, Mostbet, and other top online operators. Tourists pining for the glitz of casinos and the adrenaline of gaming have flocked to the city, breathing new life into its famous gambling houses. This revival is not just a statistic – it is a story about the resilience of the human spirit and the unquenchable love of risk and adventure.

Today, most gambling enthusiasts are increasingly playing over the internet. Simple mostbet registration allows you to access many thousands of gambling games directly from your phone or computer. But as you can see from the growth of tourism in Macau, the number of people who want to visit land-based casinos is still high.

Record revenues: when betting pays off
March 2023 was a turning point for Macau’s gambling industry. Gross gambling revenue reached an impressive 12.7 billion patacas, equivalent to US$1.6 billion. These are not just numbers – they are evidence of a tremendous comeback. Compared to March of the previous year, the growth was a staggering 247%, surpassing even the most optimistic forecasts of analysts.

To understand the scale: this level of returns hasn’t been seen since January 2020, before the pandemic changed the world. While the numbers are still 51% below the golden year of 2019, the trend is clearly positive. A month-on-month increase of 23% compared to February 2023 indicates a steady increase in interest in gambling in Macau. Well, by 2025, the economy should grow by another 14% to reach pre-pandemic levels.

Tourist boom: from budget groups to VIP players
The revival of Macau’s gambling industry is inextricably linked to a surge in tourism. By mid-March, daily visitor traffic was around 65,000 – a 55% increase on 2019 levels. February 2023 saw 1.6 million tourist visits, averaging 57,000 per day.

It is interesting to note the change in the composition of tourists:

  • An increase in budget tourist groups from mainland China
  • a temporary decrease in the number of VIP players due to increased scrutiny
  • A focus on developing non-gaming activities to attract mass tourists

Although budget tourists spend less than the high rollers of past years, their numbers make up the difference. Also, diversification of tourist flow reduces dependence on one group of customers, which makes the industry more sustainable.

The number of foreign workers is also increasing. Already their number has risen to 90% of its pre-pandemic level.

Challenges and prospects: playing by new rules
Macau’s recovery is not just a return to the old. The Chinese government has tightened controls on frequent casino visitors. Some gambling enthusiasts who have been to Macau more than three times a year have to apply for visas in person instead of through an electronic procedure. This is certainly a deterrent for high-rollers.

Also, the tightening of rules for junkets – agencies that provided loans to big players – has effectively dismantled the VIP sector, which before the pandemic provided half of the gambling revenue. But this is not the end, but the beginning of a new era. Macau is adapting by betting on:

  • developing non-gaming entertainment: shows, exhibitions, gastronomy
  • attracting tourists from abroad, not only from China
  • targeting mass tourists with diverse interests

Macau’s revival is not just a recovery from the crisis, it is a transformation. The city, once dependent on the whims of VIP clientele, is now appealing to a wider audience. The development of cultural attractions, gastronomic delights, and luxury hotels makes Macau attractive not only to gamblers but also to those looking for a comprehensive luxury experience.