The largest gambling hub in the world has started to reopen after a long COVID-19 lockdown. Macau has taken some baby steps on the road to complete reopening, something which still is not on the horizon. Nevertheless, China’s gambling paradise has started issuing tourist visas once again, albeit only for the visitors coming from other parts of the country.
When will Macau reopen for international visitors stays a mystery as the coronavirus still remains a serious threat. Another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic would wreak havoc on the city that relies heavily on tourism and gaming. According to BBC, Macau casinos have been losing $15 million every day during the crisis.
Macau Reopens Only to Visitors from Mainland China
The COVID-19 global pandemic started out in China, with the total number of cases being just short of 85,000 at the moment of writing. Macau, however, has been doing much better than mainland China.
Even though there are about 700,000 people who call Macau their home, only 46 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the region. An even more impressive fact is that all of the infected people have recovered successfully.
One of the main reasons behind Macau’s success with handling the crisis is that the region closed down to visitors early on. The Macau travel restrictions were introduced in January, practically turning the biggest gambling hub in the world into a ghost town.
The restrictions lasted until this Wednesday, causing a serious blow to the city’s economy. The worst is behind, but the Macau casino industry has a long road to recovery ahead. There’s no doubt it’s going to be slow as at the moment, as only visitors from mainland China are allowed in. It’s still unknown when the things are going to go back entirely to normal.
On the bright side, a big majority of visitors to Macau are those coming from mainland China. It’s been like that since always, even though this city is home to some prestigious casinos owned by American companies, e.g., Wynn, MGM, and so on.
Macau Casinos Recording Huge Losses
Macau went on lockdown in late January, which included the closure of the regional borders, as well as the shutdown of all the casinos in the area. After only 15 days, Macau casinos returned to business in February.
In comparison, Las Vegas casinos stayed shut down for several months. Nevada shut down all the venues on March 17, and after nearly three months of hiatus, casinos were allowed to go back to business on June 4.
Nevertheless, the Macau gambling industry had to rely on locals as the only source of income, as regional borders stayed closed until this Wednesday. Furthermore, Macau casinos also have to adhere to certain social distancing measures, such as the 50% reduced capacity. It’s needless to say that the limited number of gamblers has caused a gigantic loss in profits.
In 2019, Macau casinos saw nearly 110,000 visitors a day on average. During the 2020 pandemic, that number was more than ten times lower. Last week, for example, it’s estimated that the total number of casino visitors in the whole of Macau was below 50,000.