Macau tightens restrictions on HK, mainland, Taiwan visitors

March 24, 2020 11:30
Macau’s casinos have reopened after a two-week suspension in February, but revenues have plummeted by almost 90 percent. Photo: Bloomberg

Macau, the world’s biggest gambling hub, will ban entry from Wednesday for visitors from mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan who have traveled overseas in the previous 14 days, as it battles a coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reports.

Macau has 25 infections and visitors from the Greater China region make up more than 90 percent of its tourists. Last week it had banned foreign visitors and foreign non-resident workers, while exempting those from the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

People who have not traveled abroad in the past two weeks also face 14 days of quarantine, Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng said on Tuesday.

“The government assures all Macau citizens it will do a good job in epidemic prevention at any cost,” Ho added.

Although Macau’s casinos have reopened after a two-week suspension in February, revenues have plummeted by almost 90 percent, hit by visit curbs and health regulations.

Visitors to Macau dropped 96 percent in February on the year, while its government slashed a forecast for annual gross gaming revenue by 56 percent, to 130 billion patacas (US$16.3 billion), from 260 billion estimated last year.

More than 80 percent of Macau’s revenue comes from casinos. Operators Wynn Macau, Sands China, MGM China, Melco Resorts, SJM Holdings and Galaxy Entertainment are all bleeding between US$1.5 million and US$4 million a day to keep their properties running.

Analysts expect March gambling revenue to fall by as much as 80 percent.

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