acau gaming revenue soared 492.2% year-on-year in May to 10.4 billion patacas ($1.3 billion), as the casino hub continued to see a growth in visitors from mainland China, following an easing of coronavirus travel curbs and the Golden Week holiday.
The numbers have exceeded analysts’ expectations in May for the first time in four months, as they beat the median analyst estimate of a 467% jump year-on-year, Bloomberg reports. The Bloomberg Intelligence index of Macau casino operators fell 9% in May.
According to data from the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, revenue increased 24% from the previous month, but is still down 60% from May 2019, before the pandemic hit.
Furthermore, some 167,000 visitors came to Macau during the five-day Golden Week holidays, with more than 93% from China, according to the Macau Government Tourism Office. Average daily visitor arrivals during the five-day holiday rose 158% compared with the Spring Festival in February, and climbed 25% from last month. However, that figure only amounted to 21% of the figure from the same holiday week in May 2019, before Covid-19 hit.
After Golden Week, gaming revenue quickly dropped off to around 250 million patacas a day, 10% lower than in April, Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a note on May 26, showing that a strong holiday period could not compensate for weak demand seen during the rest of the quarter.
New Covid-19 cases in China added uncertainty to the recovery path for Macau, which depends largely on mainland visitors, and the potential further tightening of Covid restrictions in the mainland could lead to a further slowdown, the note said. Macau has ramped up efforts to promote tourism to mainland residents given that both sides have largely managed to contain the virus. However, the city’s government still has tight restrictions for travelers from most spots, including neighboring Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The city’s economy shrank 0.9% in the first quarter compared to a year ago.