The world’s biggest gambling hub, Macau, has suffered a massive blow from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) as the casino industry recorded its worst monthly downturn.
For the month of February, Macau casinos’ revenue dropped by 88%, compared with the same period last year, due to a 15-day forced shutdown in efforts to contain the spread of the deadly virus.
Macau’s government ordered the closure of businesses from February 5 and has only allowed them to reopen beginning February 20. The closure, according to reports, was the longest on record following the 33-hour suspension of operations in 2018 due to a typhoon that hit the region.
With these, the Gaming Inspection & Coordination Bureau of Macau said the gross gambling revenue sharply fell from 25.4 billion patacas in February 2019 to only 3.1 billion patacas ($387M) this year.
Two American-owned companies Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts reported a hit on their revenues with daily losses of up to $1.5 million and $2.6 million, respectively.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts are optimistic that the former Portuguese colony would bounce back once the travel restrictions are lifted, considering that majority of Macau’s tourists come from the mainland and foreign countries.
“We do not think COVID-19 will curb gamblers’ enthusiasm in a sustainable way, so its impact on the industry’s sustainable earnings power should be limited,” they added.
Macau has recorded only 10 coronavirus infections and has not detected a new case for a month but the government remains keen in taking necessary measures to control the outbreak.
As of Tuesday, the respiratory disease has already killed more than 3,000 individuals and its global infections have soared to a total of 90, 931.