On Saturday, the Macau SAR government ordered a week-long shutdown for all commercial and industrial businesses, including casinos, due to the COVID-19 zero-tolerance policy. During the shutdown, only essential services are allowed to operate.
The reason behind this decision is the discovery of 71 new COVID-19 cases, which brings the total number of positive cases to 1,364 since the latest outbreak on June 18. According to Andrew Cheong Weng Chun, Secretary for Administration and Justice, the shutdown will start at midnight on July 11 and will last for a week.
The casino shutdown is the first in Macau since the 15-day closure back in February 2020. As China’s only legal casino market, the shutdown surely has some effects on the casino industry.
Macau’s casino sector encountered the worst gross gaming revenue (GGR) tally since September 2020, when the GGR fell 62.1 percent year-over-year in June to $813 million. In comparison to May 2022, the GGR fell by 25.9 percent. Moreover, the S&P Global Ratings reported that Macau’s GGR this year is only 20 to 30 percent compared to 2019.
From January to June 2022, Macau’s gaming revenue was $3.26 million, a 46.4 percent drop compared to the first six months of 2021.
For some time now, there has been some optimism that the casino industry can step away from the zero-tolerance policy and implement more flexible quarantine regulations in order to reintroduce international tourism to the industry for the first time since early 2020.
However, in the meantime, the casino industry will need to abide by the policy until July 18. Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts International, and Wynn Resorts are among the casinos with several gaming licenses in Macau.
Regarding this closure, the spokesman for Wynn Resort said that they “will follow the government’s direction in their efforts to contain COVID-19 in Macau.”
On the other hand, Las Vegas Sands, the largest Las Vegas-based casino operator in Macau, will address the situation in Macau when the company reports second-quarter earnings in a couple of weeks, according to their spokesman.
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