The Macau government is considering legislation that would provide for the mandatory closure of casinos in the event of public emergencies, Inside Asian Gaming reported.
This comes after last weekend’s closures as Typhoon Mangkhut hit the special administrative region, already leading to downward revenue projections for the month. The government finally allowed the casinos to reopen Monday morning, after over 24 hours.
Macau Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong said the government has yet to decide whether required closures would be part of the ongoing discussions on changes to Macau’s civil protection system.
“Will the closure in the future be regular? For the time being, I still cannot say,” Leong said, noting that the SAR’s six casino operators had fully cooperated with the directive to close the casinos, but that the procedure during similar events could be optimized.
Meanwhile, Macau News Agency reported that the New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association had a similar proposal, that would allow the government to cease operations when a typhoon of signal 8 or higher hits.
The group submitted their proposal to the Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau (DICJ). Association president Cloee Chao said that the closure last weekend was welcomed by the majority of workers in the industry, and that she was confident their proposal would be made into law. Chao, however, admitted that she had not discussed the measure with any casino operator.
Typhoon Mangkhut came just about a year after Typhoon Hato, which was also a signal 10 storm. The damage Hato had wrought, including the loss of 10 lives, may have contributed to the swift action of both government and private sector to ensure safety of employees and players when Mangkhut hit. Nonetheless, the losses in terms of gross gaming revenue (GGR) are forecast in the hundreds of millions of dollars, according to firms Nomura, Bernstein, and Union Gaming. Compared to 2017, however, GGR is seen to likely grow.