The spread and proliferation of the Coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, has had an immense negative impact on economies around the world, as well as global markets.
With so many secondary and tertiary effects from the virus, it’s difficult to find an industry that hasn’t been affected by it.
The gambling industry is no exception, and casinos around the world have been hit hard. Casinos in Macau have been particularly affected by the pandemic as the virus originated in China. Naturally, enforced quarantines and social distance policies have obvious effects on casinos in which patrons are often interacting with one another in close quarters.
Many will be surprised to know, however, that despite the spread of the Coronavirus, massive media exposure, and a global outcry for greater preventive actions, Macau casinos have already reopened their doors. In some ways, China’s response to COVID-19 can be seen as a case study for the rest of the world in how industries can exercise resilience and bounce back from crisis.
It goes without saying that Macau still hasn’t fully rebounded from the effects of the virus, but the mere fact that many of their casinos have already started welcoming guests is quite impressive. Macau casinos are exercising caution to maintain responsible social distancing policies to avoid any resurgence of the virus within their walls.
Each casino, for example, only makes certain tables available to play that are at a specific distance from each other. This limits guests’ exposure to one another and makes certain that proper social distancing policies are maintained.
However, given that the casinos are introducing appropriate social distancing, local governments are encouraging of casinos to resume accepting guests. It’s believed that doing so will signal to consumers worldwide that the region is stable.
Since many of the casinos were hit hard by the pandemic, and drumming up a new business is difficult in the current economic climate, many casinos are even offering gamblers lucrative bonuses to lure them back in. Luckily for these casinos, Macau was not hit as hard as other casinos by the pandemic, having reported only ten cases of Coronavirus infection, and zero new cases since February 4th according to some sources.
It, therefore, makes some sense that Macau is bouncing back from the pandemic in a way that so many other cities aren’t. But, the speed of its comeback is still surprising considering that just a few short weeks ago it was grounded to a halt, as reported by the New York Times.
A secondary effect of the Coronavirus on Macau casinos is that some new casinos being built will likely have their openings delayed, as construction workers coming from mainland China are quarantined and can’t work for two weeks or more. This is significant, as Chinese mainlanders account for over 60 percent of the Macau area’s non-resident workforce.
As the Washington Post has reported, Macau’s dramatic strategies for dealing with the Coronavirus by being very aggressive to slow its spread, and ambitious in reopening its doors could mean that it will emerge as a winner from the pandemic. This stands in contrast to other gambling destinations which were slower to shut down operations and, as a result, will be delayed in reopening their doors to patrons.
Despite the encouragement of the Chinese government for casinos to reopen, it’s undeniable that Macau’s casinos will still take a hefty financial hit. Some analysts predict that revenue could drop as high as 50-60% as a result of the virus since many mainland Chinese residents will be hesitant to travel or vacation for some time.
However, many Macau casino executives agree with the government that slowly starting to open in phases is the best way to limit losses and slowly start to revitalize profits. Although casinos are beginning to open their doors, government officials are reporting that restaurants and bars will continue to remain closed for the time being due to the Coronavirus.
As a result of quarantines around the world due to the Coronavirus, some gamblers have used informative websites like OnlineCasinoGems.com to find reputable online casinos to generate revenue and substitute for the entertainment. No doubt, many mainland Chinese who are unable to travel to Macau are turning to these sites as an alternative platform to play their favorite casino games. However, gambling online is a decidedly different experience than doing so at a casino, and many online gamblers are likely to return to Macau as travel becomes easier.
Conversely, many industries have been hit by the economic slowdown, including taxi drivers, who are reporting that demand for their services has completely dried up, and have recently petitioned the government for financial assistance. Despite these setbacks across multiple industries in the area, Macau casinos seem better positioned to bounce back from this downturn than many other famous gambling destinations, and the government’s role in encouraging them to reopen is a big reason for that.
Ultimately, we’ll have to wait and see whether Macau casinos will be successful in engineering the economic recovery that they are attempting to for the region. For the time being, the evidence seems to point towards their efforts being largely successful. To stay up-to-date, it’s helpful to be tapped into a reliable source of information in the region. Doing so can help consumers stay current not just with how Macau casinos progress, but also with the larger economic story of the area.
In the coming months, it will be interesting to see how Macau’s recovery compares with other gambling destinations that rely on heavy tourism for revenue. Macau’s casinos’ road to recovery will be particularly impactful when considering the pressure on many Chinese industries, including manufacturing, to reopen, as reported by the BBC. Doing so will give onlookers a good look at the big-picture rebound of the region as a whole.
Looking at how different sectors of the economy recovers is the only way analysts will be able to get a clear picture of the reality on the ground. It’s important to work, considering that these economic downturns have human costs, and our ability to recover from them could save lives.
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