Melco Resorts & Entertainment, through its ICR Cyprus Holdings Ltd joint venture, which operates the Cyprus Casinos brand and has a 30-year exclusive license to run casinos in Cyprus, was forced to close all of its five casinos in Cyprus, after the Council of Ministers of the island country had ruled the suspension of certain private business operations for a month starting March 16, to facilitate the efforts to halt the coronavirus /Covid-19/ outbreak.
No Casinos In Cyprus
The closure encompasses four satellite, in Ayia Napa, Nicosia, Larnaca and Paphos, and one temporary casino, in Limassol, the latter operating while the company’s €550 million project, City of Dreams Mediterranean, is being developed.
“In these challenging times that call for extreme measures, we rally behind the government of Cyprus and the actions implemented to curb the spread of Covid-19.”Andy Choy, COO International, Melco Resorts
The Cyprus government ordered all shops, malls, restaurants, bars, clubs and coffee shops, as well as sports facilities such as gyms and betting shops, and cultural venues including museums, theme parks, cinemas and libraries to close doors for a period of four weeks.
Tourists Not Welcome
Hotels will also suspend operations until end of April, with all foreign tourists entering the country needing to have a covid-19 test certificate from their place of origin, plus being placed under a 14-days compulsory quarantine at specially designated facilities in Cyprus.
Less than three weeks ago, the company owned by the local conglomerate, Cyprus Phassouri (Zakaki) Ltd, and gaming entrepreneur Lawrence Ho Yau Lung’s Melco Resorts & Entertainment, opened its “fourth and last” satellite casino, in Limassol, located in the city’s main touristic area in close proximity to Paphos International Airport and Paphos’ historical city centre.
It Started In Macau
Closure of all Cyprus-based gaming facilities was not the only hit Melco Resorts took from the global spread of the coronavirus, as the company’s significant exposure to the Macau gaming market led to it being impacted by the 15-day closure of all land-based casinos there. The gaming operator even contributed $2.6 million towards the efforts in Macau to contain the spreading of the virus.
Even before the Macau temporary shutdown, Melco Resorts was forced to reevaluate its acquisition plans and abandon the purchase of the other 10% of Crown Resorts shares, as per the initial deal to buy a 20% share of the Australian resorts-operating company in two tranches, preventing the company from seeking a seat on the board of Crown Resorts, and even risking legal actions from the owner of the latter. Being stripped out of cash due to the huge drop in revenue in Macau, Melco explained it was left with no other option but to relocate resources to its core investments.