Macau’s casinos won $2.8 billion from gamblers last month, which brought 2017’s gambling winnings to $33 billion, according to figures released by the local government.
The gambling market in the special administrative region of China hadn’t posted a year-over-year gain in gaming win since 2013, thanks to Beijing’s crackdown on the junket industry that extends credit to wealthy high rollers. The recovery is largely due to the return of the VIPs.
The $33 billion was nearly 20 percent more than what the casinos won off of gamblers in 2016, according to the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
The figure is nearly three times the gambling market in the U.S. state of Nevada. The Silver State commands about 30 percent of America’s commercial casino gambling spend. Some of the top Las Vegas-based casino operators—MGM Resorts International, Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands—have casinos in Macau. MGM is slated to open its second casino there later this month. Macau has nearly three dozen casinos altogether.
Macau’s gaming market hit a high of $45 billion in 2013. Prior to Macau’s downturn, it was predicted in a Wall Street Journal report that in 2017 the gambling market would hit $77 billion.
December’s performance marked 16 straight months that gaming win increased in a year-over-year comparison. Before the current winning streak, there were 26 straight months of declines.