Macau’s GGR fell 3.4 percent year on year in 2019, marking the end of the special administrative region’s two-year recovery. Despite this, the city saw a rise in visitation last year, while Macau International set an all-time record for annual passenger traffic.
Macau’s gaming revenue slipped for the third straight month in December, with the special administrative region experiencing its worst annual decline since 2015. Casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) fell 3.4 percent year on year in 2019, according to data from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ).
In December, GGR fell 13.7 percent from a year earlier to nearly MOP22.84bn ($2.84bn), the steepest monthly decline last year. GGR for 2019 came in just-under MOP292.5bn ($36.5bn) year on year, compared to MOP302.85bn in 2018.
Breaking down the figures, Macau’s new secretary for Economy and Finance, Lei Wai Nong, noted that the city got more than half of its 2019 GGR from mass play, and said the segment had seen “stable” development.
Looking ahead, he remained “cautiously optimistic” regarding Macau’s economic performance in 2020. Lei took office in December as part of incoming Macau chief executive Ho Iat Seng’s new administration.
He reported that the mass gaming segment had contributed “53.7 percent” of the city’s 2019 GGR, while the remaining “46.3 percent” came from VIP play. Mass gaming revenue rose by “16.7 percent” year on year in 2019, while that generated by VIP play fell by “18.5 percent”, Lei stated.
Meanwhile, Macau’s hotels saw a combined occupancy rate of 91 percent last year, a fall of 0.9 percent on 2018 due to lower occupancy in fourand five-star hotels. The figures, published by the Macao Government Tourism Office, included a 0.9 percent fall in five-star hotels occupancy to 92.3 percent and 7.5 percent decline at four-star hotels to 84.9 percent. Nevertheless, three-star hotels notched up a 7.5 percent increase, with occupancy rising to 94.4 percent.
Despite the fall in revenues, Macau received “over 39.4 million” tourism arrivals last year, up 10 percent on 2018, according to Public Security Police figures. 28 million of last year’s tourism arrivals came from mainland China, while the next top five sources of visitor arrivals were Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Japan.
Macau International set an all-time record for annual passenger traffic in 2019, welcoming 9.6 million arriving and departing passengers, a 16 percent year-on-year increase in traffic.
Passengers from Taiwan rose by six percent, while those from mainland China and Southeast Asia increased by 25 percent and 14 percent. The airport also added 13 new routes last year.
Eight of these were for destinations in mainland China: Wenzhou; Shenyang; Changsha; Jieyang Chaoshan; Jinan; Yangzhou; Nantong; and Nanchang. Other regional routes added were: Jeju in South Korea; the North Korean capital Pyongyang; Lal-lo in the Philippine province of Cagayan; Cam Ranh in Vietnam; and Mandalay in Myanmar.