Macau Casinos in Crisis Following COVID-19 Shutdown

July 31, 2022
Mark Patrickson

Macau casinos have reopened following a two-week shutdown that led to a share price crash. More than 40 casinos reopened on July 23 but with heavily restricted limitations leading to a bleak outlook for the future.

Rightly or wrongly, China’s “Zero-COVID” policy has caused incalculable economic damage to the region and Macau is no exception. The Asian gambling paradise has struggled immensely since the start of the pandemic and there is still no light at the end of the tunnel.

The six licensed operators are currently spending millions of dollars every day while quarantine-free travel is suspended with very few tourists making the trip to the city.

Restrictions in place now include:

  • Only 50% of casino personnel permitted to work
  • Strict disinfection measure for all returning workers
  • Only one person per two square meters permitted
  • Social distancing rules apply to both casino staff and customers

Most worryingly, there are no signs that this harsh policy will change in the near future. Macau depends on casino tourism and faces an economic catastrophe if matters don’t improve soon. Initially, this was recognised and casinos remained open while other social businesses were shuttered but for now they are all in this mess together.

Morgan Stanley analysts predict that revenue will not surpass $7 billion in 2022, an 81% fall on the pre-COVID level.

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