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Mike Johnson January 24, 2020 3 min read
Coronavirus Prompts Macau to Issue Warnings to Casino Operators
As Macau continues to monitor the coronavirus outbreak, U.S. operators who own properties in the gaming hub have said they will be willing to shut down their operations temporarily to help fight the spread of the pathogen.
Operators Ready to Shut Down in Macau to Curb Threat of Coronavirus
Several U.S. casino operators have confirmed readiness to comply should the Chinese government order a temporary shut-down in a bid to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus, which has already infected over 600 people worldwide.
The virus has finally reached Macau where two deadly cases have been confirmed. Being one of the largest gaming markets and an international hub where people come from far and wide, China is fearing a global pandemic outbreak, so much as the Year of the Rat celebrations have been cancelled.
Macau Chief Executive Ho lat Seng has issued an order banning all public festivities to celebrate the New Year. He further noted that casinos might be suspended until after the coronavirus has been contained.
Ho further urged Macau residents to stay home and asked organizations to refrain from hosting any events in public that gather large masses.
Affecting the Gaming Market to Cost Millions
Macau’s New Year promotions and celebrations are one of the biggest sources of revenue for the gaming hub. Every year, the gaming enclave generates million worth of cash by posting special offers and drawing players from far and wide, and specifically VIP and high-rollers.
The outbreak of the virus is not good for business, but U.S. brands have already said that they would shut down their operations if need is. Las Vegas Sands spokesperson Ron Reese followed Ho’s official statement on Thursday and said that the company was working closely with officials to determine what the best course of action is, adding:
We are prepared to follow any additional protocols or guidance as they are made available.
Meanwhile, MGM Resorts’ Brian Ahem said that the two resorts owned and operated by the company, i.e. MGM Macau and MGM Cotai have made sure to bolster the overall security and hygiene of the properties to protect both visitors and staff.
Wynn Resorts was one of the brands not to comment on the situations officially as of yet. Whether the companies operate or close down, Macau’s gaming segment will take a tangible dip in revenue.
In 2019, gaming revenue did fall by 3.4% for the first time since 2016. Business itself took a slight hit as well. The stocks of casino operators fell as much as 1.35% for Las Vegas Sands 1.3% in Wynn (WYNN) and 3.6% for Melco Resorts (MLCO), following Ho’s Thursday statement.
Still, Macau is holding up and the hospitality sector has not experienced any cancellations in bookings or actual decline of visits to the region. However, the reduction of festivities and the threat of shutting down casinos indefinitely as per Ho’s statement could send Macau’s gaming revenue down in yet another year.