Macau has just announced that they are going to shut-down the land-based casinos due to the outbreak of coronavirus. The entire economy of Macau resides on gambling revenue which is why the city has previously postponed this decision, while the idea has been present throughout January.
Macau decided to shut-down the casinos since it has just reported the 10th case of the coronavirus, a deadly virus that ended more than 400 lives in China, infected more than tens of thousands, and has been reported in at least twenty countries worldwide.
Ho Iat Seng, a Chief Executive of the City and a pro-Beijing politician announced that the casinos will be closed for two weeks with a potential of extension should the virus continue to be present. According to Ho: «This is a difficult decision, but we have to do it for the health of our Macau residents».
More shall be known on Tuesday afternoon after the meeting between Ho and the representatives of the gambling sector. The industry stocks decreased substantially after his announcement with Galaxy Entertainment experiencing a 4% decrease, Sands China 2.4% and Wynn Macau 1.9%.
Macau’s Gambling Sector
The city has only closed their casinos once in their history and that occurred in 2018 when Macau experienced a typhoon disaster. Every year, approximately 35 million mainland Chinese come to Macau to gamble in casinos.
Around 80% of Macau’s governmental revenue actually comes from the gambling sector and it is the only place in China where gambling is legal. In the last week, tourism experienced an 80% decrease in visitors due to the coronavirus. Last week was a Lunar New Year, a holiday period of several days that is one of the most popular holidays in China and a period of increased revenue for Macau’s gambling industry.
New Cases of the Virus
Two new infections have been announced this Tuesday and one of those was a woman who is an employee in the gambling sector. In the past weeks, the temperatures of the casino visitors have been monitored when they were entering the casinos.
Ho Iat Seng wore a mask on the news conference and told the people to try to remain in their homes instead of going outside. Additionally, Ho said: «Don’t go on the streets if not necessary. I hope everyone will wear a mask no matter where you go, supermarkets or wet markets. Don’t be careless. Don’t take it lightly».
Macau Casinos to be Shut-Down for Two Weeks due to Coronavirus