The two weeks shutdown of the Macau casinos led to a 90% fall in its revenue in February. This came after the news on Coronavirus surfaced globally. The latest data released by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau in Macau reported that in February, the casino establishments had generated a revenue of MOP3.1b only. This indicated a decline of 87.8% from that of Feb 2019. January and February recorded almost 50% less revenue than that recorded last year, rounding the figures at MOP24.9b.
The casino operations across China were closed down upon an order issued by the special administration department. All establishments were to remain shut for 15 days beginning from February 4, 2020, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The IVS permits (Individual Visit Scheme) to Macau were restricted as the province seeks to limit its probable exposure to the novel killer virus.
Some casinos in Macau began phased re-opening after the 15 days. Popular gambling hideouts including Casino Taipa and the Casino Macau Jockey Club are yet to resume operations. Both these casinos are based out of top hotels in Macau. The January revenue from the gaming sector in Macau declined to 11.3% after travel was restricted.
It was concluded that the casinos would start operations only if they agreed to follow the regulations and restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Some of these restrictions included maintaining vacant seats between players at the manual as well as automated gambling tables. Guests visiting the casino were asked to cover their faces with masks until March 22. Also, standing bets were asked to be discontinued at the operating casinos.
While the last 10 days in January came as a big blow on the revenue, the operators faced the brunt of the shutdown in February as well. The casino operators have been citing their increased expenditure that soars to $2.5m – $3m. With the COVID-19 crisis hitting the global market and spreading like wildfire, most Asia Pacific countries battling the outbreak have taken to restricting travel. Disapproving visas, not allowing own citizens to travel is already telling upon the casino industry and is expected to have a long term impact on its revenue.