It’s almost as if the pandemic is a distant memory. Las Vegas casinos no longer require masks or social distancing. But thousands of miles away on the other side of the planet, things are not going nearly as well. And now, it could cost some of the biggest gaming companies serious cash.
China’s largest gambling hub is an island called Macau. And the latest surge of Coronavirus there has resulted in the government locking down the area and shutting down the casinos. Major American operators like MGM, Wynn, and the Las Vegas Sands, have significant investments in the market and stand to lose big.
Many Americans may be unaware the casinos in Macau (not the Vegas casinos) actually make up the largest gambling destination in the world. Visitors from Asia, Europe, and Australia all frequent city. But now, the small island off the Chinese coast is seeing a huge surge of Coronavirus cases. The biggest surge ever, in fact. American gaming companies have sunk billions and billions of dollars into Macau over the years, building it into the mecca it has become and helping the city to recover from the pandemic. Now, however, the efforts of the Chinese government to control the latest outbreak could devastate them.
Those efforts include a “zero COVID” policy, where people are basically quarantined in their homes and only allowed to leave for ‘essential services’. There is also mass testing in areas of high infection, and all this means that casinos in Macau will be dark and silent for at least a week… maybe longer.
Although none of the Vegas casinos or their parent companies would comment on this issue, they do depend on Macau for hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue every year. And so far, 2022 has already been a down year for Macau. In fact, MGM, Wynn, and the Las Vegas Sands have all reported declines in first quarter earnings. The companies point to China and the travel restrictions as factors for the fall in profits, and a shit down in Macau certainly won’t help the matter.