COVID-19 Outbreak Results in Raft of Macau Casino and Building Closures

The famous Grand Lisboa Macau Casino is closed for the foreseeable future following an outbreak of the COVID-19 virus at the casino.

A fresh outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in several Macau casino and building closures as the government takes drastic measures to keep a lid on new infections. A new COVID-19 outbreak in the world’s largest gambling hub has caused the Chinese Special Administrative Region‘s government to act quickly and decisively.

Grand Lisboa is a famous, almost legendary Macau casino. The government ordered its closure following more than a dozen positive cases of COVID-19 at the property. Infections are spreading rapidly throughout the city, hence the Macau casino industry finding itself under the cosh.

More than 16 other Macau buildings are under lock and key. Nobody can enter or leave those closed buildings. This is the first time in two years the Macau casino Grand Lisboa has closed.

Macau Casino Industry Reeling With 13,000 People Quarantined

Authorities detected more than 900 COVID-19 infections since mid-June. This makes the latest outbreak the largest since the pandemic began. An outbreak in October 2021 was the last time Macau had a number of new infections.

The SJM Holdings-owned Grand Lisboa is the second Macau casino closure in recent weeks. The late Stanley Ho started SJM Holdings and the Macau casino is one of the city’s best-known landmarks.

The casino has not yet commented on the enforced closure. However, local media reports show people in hazmat suits stood in front of the sealed Macau casino.

Macau’s government has stopped short of declaring a full lockdown of its citizens. However, it adheres to China’s “zero COVID” policy. China aims to eradicate outbreaks entirely and at any cost, while large sections of the world attempt to coexist with the virus. Some 13,000 Macau residents are currently under quarantine orders.

Macau Gambling Revenue Plummets

COVID-19 outbreaks have hit the Macau casino sector hard. Once the biggest gambling hub globally, gaming revenue is at an almost all-time low. Regular lockdowns do not help the situation. Nor does China’s strict travel restrictions.

Macau still has an open border with the parts of mainland China considered low-risk. The region relies heavily on the influx of Chinese visitors.

Although parts of mainland China remain free to roam in Macau, other key regions face much stricter restrictions. A seven-day quarantine is in place for arrivals from Zhuhai. A ten-day quarantine exists between Hong Kong and Taiwan in addition to Portugal. There is a blanket ban on lucrative international travellers.

Wynn Macau Announces New President

Wynn Macau announced a new president after Ian Coughlan announced plans to step down in March 2023. Coughlan has held the reins of the iconic Macau casino since July 2007. He worked in hospitality throughout Asia, often with the region’s biggest brands.

Coughlan has held an executive role since joining the Macau casino. However, his tenure ends at the close of business on February 28, 2023.

Craig Billings, the CEO of the Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts, was full of praise for Coughlan.

“Ian’s pioneering leadership, which spans the vast majority of our incredibly successful time in Macau, has been impressive and his unrelenting commitment to brand excellence and establishing our deep-rooted culture is equally remarkable.”

Linda Chen succeeds Coughlan on March 1, 2023. Chen currently serves as vice-chair and chief operating officer of the Macau casino. Coughlan agreed to remain at Wynn Macau in a non-executive capacity until the end of 2023 in order to assist Chen in her new role.

Wynn Resorts owns two properties in Macau: Wynn Palace and Wynn Macau. The former reported $194.0 million revenue ($283.74 million) in the fourth quarter of 2021, a 12.4% decrease. Wynn Macau’s fourth-quarter revenue fell 27.6% to US$131.7 million ($192.66 million).

Enforced closures in addition to a vastly reduced footfall heavily contributed to those reduced figures.