Due to the problem of the coronavirus, many tourists stay away from the gaming metropolis. Croupiers and players are now required to wear medical mouthguards.
The Chinese New Year started this year on January 25, 2020. In the first 4 days of the festive season, Macau saw a 69% decrease in visitor numbers compared to the previous year. Visits from mainland China have also decreased by 75%. Macau’s tourist record from last year is probably difficult to achieve.
China had already banned group trips to Macau last year. In the meantime, this regulation also applies to the Individual Visitor Scheme (IVS), through which 47% of mainland visitors come to Macau. Thus, the regulations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus have concrete economic consequences for Macau.
What are the current sales figures for the casinos in Macau?
On Saturday (February 2, 2020), Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau announced that local casinos had a turnover of 22.1 billion Macau-Pataca (around 2.51 billion euros). This corresponds to a decrease of 11.3% compared to January 2019. Compared to December 2019, the decrease is 13.7%.
The reports assume that the number of visits to the casinos in Macau has decreased by 80%.
The effects of the security measures can be felt directly in the casinos
The local government in Macau had already instructed croupiers in the casinos to wear medical face masks during the last week in January. Employees should also examine visitors for signs of increased body temperature.
However, the Macau authorities quickly went a step further and asked all casino visitors to wear protective masks as well. Players who have visited the Chinese province of Hubei in the past 2 weeks will be completely denied access to the casinos.
For a group of casino employees, however, this does not go far enough. You want all casinos to close completely for at least 14 days to ensure the security of casino staff. In a letter, the group complained about the guests’ lack of health awareness, as some of them also spit on the floor of the casino. The question was also raised as to why casinos remained open while banks, schools and other public bodies could be closed.
Casinos donate to fight coronavirus
After more than 425 people in China have died from the coronavirus and the World Health Organization calls it an “international health emergency,” many international casino operators are trying to help fight the virus.
Casino operator Meg-Star announced through its Meg-Star International Charity Association that 10 million Macau-Pataca (1.1 million euros) will be donated to the fight against the virus. Measures against an epidemic in the core city of Wuhan are to be financed through the Wuhan Coronavirus Special Fund. The main focus is on medical care for the city and the province of Hubei.
Casino operator Melco, which also operates several locations in Macau, is also ready to donate money for medical care. The company makes a donation of 2.6 million US dollars. Lawrence Ho is Melco’s Chairman and CEO, commenting on the move:
We think of the people in Wuhan and Hubei and everyone affected by the new strain of the coronavirus. We hope that this donation will help speed up preventive measures to curb the spread of the virus. Melco fully supports government initiatives to contribute to the health and well-being of those affected in the community.
Too much panic in coronavirus coverage?
The outbreak of the coronavirus is taken very seriously by Chinese governments and around the world. However, some experts believe that the reactions have been disproportionate. So far there have been 20,438 confirmed cases of the virus in China. The ability of the virus to spread quickly is also of concern. Nevertheless, panicky purchases of breathing masks, such as those that have sometimes been available in Berlin, are premature.
International flights between China and a number of countries have already been canceled. For example, Russia has completely closed the borders for China. The same applies to North Korea and Mongolia. In the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia, entry from the Chinese province of Hubei is no longer permitted.
So far there have been first cases in France, the USA, Great Britain and Germany. The first precautionary measures are therefore also being taken in Europe. So far there have been 12 confirmed cases of the virus in Germany. People are said to be in quarantine.
However, there are already reports that an antidote to the virus has been discovered. It is said to be a cocktail of HIV and flu medication.
Macau casinos closed – what does the virus mean for Macau?
The rating agencies are closely monitoring the falling sales figures in Macau. Fitch Ratings analysts are currently seeing that casinos have a 20% occupancy rate. If the virus does not spread faster and the problems do not increase, the agency assumes that gaming revenues will drop to 1.8 billion euros this year.
Macau and Hong Kong were closed as a 39-year-old man died on Monday (February 3, 2020) of coronavirus. Entry is no longer possible. The Chinese government has now admitted mistakes in dealing with the epidemic.