Macau reopened casinos on Saturday after a rare shutdown in the world’s largest gambling hub the night before when Typhoon Saola lashed the city.
(Bloomberg) — Macau reopened casinos on Saturday after a rare shutdown in the world’s largest gambling hub the night before when Typhoon Saola lashed the city.
Authorities lowered the storm warning from the highest No. 10 level to No. 8 signal at 6 a.m. Saturday, hours after neighboring Hong Kong took the same step. The local Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau warned that winds will persist, even as Saola begins to move away.
Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng ordered gambling facilities to reopen at 8 a.m. Saturday, after nine hours of shutdown during which the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau coordinated with affected businesses and oversaw staff’s accommodation.
The shutdown was relatively short compared with a 33-hour closure during Typhoon Mangkhut in 2018, which cost casinos millions. The city is already facing a seasonal slowdown after a tourism boom during the summer holidays that drove August gaming revenue to the highest since January 2020. Other challenges for Macau — the only place in China where casinos are legal — include the mainland’s weakening consumer sentiment and a dearth of high rollers following Beijing’s crackdown on VIP bettors.
Macau rarely orders city-wide closures of casinos, which are required to stay open 24 hours a day. It suspended the operations of all the gambling facilities twice amid its worst outbreaks during Covid-19. In 2018, the Typhoon Mangkhut-induced shutdown was estimated to have cost gaming operators including Sands China Ltd. and MGM China Holdings Ltd. as much as $186 million in revenue.
The city on Friday also closed operations at its border checkpoints with mainland China, the source of the bulk of Macau’s tourists.
Hundreds of flights to and from Macau were canceled for Friday and Saturday, a notice from the local airport showed.
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