Casino operators in Macau can’t say they weren’t properly warned, and they have plenty of time to make adjustments. The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ, for its Portuguese acronym) has issued a statement (in Chinese, in pdf) indicating that it plans on taking a more serious interest in casino operations and that it will conduct “rigorous inspections” to ensure that the gambling venues are adhering to established protocols to prevent the resurgence of the coronavirus. The announcement came following spot checks conducted last week, but the gaming regulator hasn’t provided the results of those inspections. Given that it felt the need to step up its inspections, perhaps things weren’t as satisfactory as the DICJ had hoped.
The regulator said this past Saturday that it plans on holding regular and frequent meetings with the six gaming operators in Macau. In order to keep the city on track and avoid another massive shutdown that could decimate the economy, casinos have to implement a number of different policies to protect their employees and gamblers, even if these policies aren’t always well-received. The DICJ adds that it will continue to work with the operators and make “appropriate adjustments to epidemic prevention measures under the guidance of health authorities.”
Adriano Ho, who became the DICJ’s director last month when he took over for Paulo Martins Chan, made some impromptu visits at Macau’s casinos last week in order to see for himself whether or not the venues were taking the new health guidelines seriously. As of last Wednesday, everyone – employees, gamblers or otherwise – who step foot inside a casino have to be prepared for their body temperature to be measured and need to display a written clean bill of health. In addition, they also have to show a “valid nucleic acid test” that shows they are not infected with the coronavirus. According to the American Society For Microbiology, these tests can “detect the presence of characteristic sequences of SARS-CoV-2 genetic material (RNA) in respiratory samples of patients.”
There are reportedly around 400 entrances and exits found at all of Macau’s gambling facilities, and each one has to be equipped with “temperature detection instrument” in order to “strengthen the measurement of all people entering the casino,” according to the DICJ’s latest announcement. Casino employees are, as of July 16, being regularly tested to ensure that they’re free of COVID-19, and the regular testing is not going to be an easy feat. There are around 58,000 employees – a little less now because of the global pandemic – serving Macau’s casinos, but, considering the massive revenue declines seen lately, the health precautions are only a small price to pay.