Tue, Jan 28, 2020 - Page 6 News List

Macau arrivals from China plunge 80% in blow for casinos


China’s deadly virus outbreak is threatening the outlook for casino operators in the world’s largest gambling hub. The number of mainland Chinese visitors to Macau fell 80 percent on Sunday, the third day of the holiday, compared with the equivalent day during last year’s Lunar New Year break, according to the city’s tourism office.

For the first three days of the holiday, arrivals were down 66 percent. That is a blow for an economy which is reliant on the gambling industry, and comes after casinos suffered their worst year since 2015. The outlook is unlikely to get any better as China limits travel for its citizens, including overseas tour bans, amid the growing death toll caused by the novel coronavirus.

Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng (賀一誠) said on Thursday he could not rule out closing all casinos in the city due to the disease outbreak, according to a Radio Television Hong Kong report.

Wynn Resorts Ltd shares plunged 11 percent in US trading last week, while Wynn Macau Ltd shares sank 13 percent in Hong Kong. Shares in Sands China Ltd (金沙中國) dropped more than 8 percent. Hong Kong’s markets are closed for holidays until tomorrow.

In China, box office sales plunged to about 6.1 million yuan (US$883,000) over the first three days of the holiday, compared with 2.3 billion yuan in the year-earlier period, according to Maoyan Movie (貓眼電影) data. Cinema operators including Dadi Cinema Group (大地影院), Jinyi Cinemas (金逸電影) and the local affiliate of CJ CGV Co (星聚匯) announced last week they were halting operations from Friday last week through yesterday.

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