13 Investigates


Macau casinos shut down in latest effort to slow deadly coronavirus outbreak

MGM Resorts International
Posted at 10:40 PM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-05 08:35:38-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Las Vegas gambling equivalent in Asia is facing a two-week closure in the latest effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.

On Tuesday, the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau announced it was closing 41 casinos for two weeks as a precaution. The territory is a big moneymaker for U.S. casino operators Wynn Resorts Ltd. and Las Vegas Sands Corp.

"I think a two-week closing is not material," said Steve Budin, 13 Action News financial analyst.

"The question I have is, two weeks turns into four weeks to six weeks... nobody has been able to confirm that they have gotten their arms around this issue yet," added Budin.

The World Health Organization reports as of Tuesday, there are more than 20,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide and 425 deaths.

As the virus containment efforts were increasing, reports showed Macau suffered an 80% drop in visitor volume from mainland China.

"If on a given weekend we have 200,000 visitors, imagine that number dropping to 40,000. 160,000 people stay home," said Budin.

"The impact that would have on our economy would be pretty substantial; that's what Macau was facing right now," added Budin.

Las Vegas gaming companies are closely watching the closures in Macau.

Wynn Resorts released a statement to 13 Investigates:

"We support the government's decision to prioritize public safety and temporarily suspend the operations of all of Macau's gaming areas, which we believe is in the best long-term interests of everyone concerned. We will fully cooperate and comply with all government directives and recommendations."

MGM Resorts International released a statement to 13 Investigates:

"MGM will follow the government's directions in the fight against this epidemic. We are closing our casinos and gaming areas while maintaining non-gaming facilities to support hotel guests in both of our properties. We will continue to work closely with the Macau government as the situation progresses."

A request for comment from Las Vegas Sands Corp. was not immediately returned.

13 Investigates - Send us a tip
Do you have a story idea or tip for 13 Investigates? Fill out the form below.
Are you willing to go on camera?