All casinos operated under the licence of Macau casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd are back to business following Typhoon Mangkhut, which hit the city over the weekend.
In a Wednesday statement, the firm told GGRAsia that Casino Taipa and Casino Macau Jockey Club – both located in Taipa – “have resumed operation”. The two gaming venues were the last of SJM Holdings’ 20 casinos to restart operations, due to power outages caused by typhoon-related floods.
Casino Taipa, located inside Regency Art Hotel (pictured), is described by SJM Holdings as a “self-promoted” casino; Casino Macau Jockey Club, located inside Macau Roosevelt Hotel, is a third-party casino run under SJM Holdings’ gaming licence.
The passage of Typhoon Mangkhut triggered the precautionary closure of all casinos in Macau from late Saturday until Monday morning, following an agreement between the Macau government and the city’s six casino operators. The blanket suspension of casino operations was unprecedented in Macau.
The World Meteorological Organisation has described Mangkhut as the strongest tropical cyclone anywhere in the world so far this year.
The city’s gaming venues were allowed to resume operations on Monday at 8am, after Typhoon Signal No.8 was lowered to Typhoon Signal No.3 by the local weather bureau.
On Tuesday, Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong Vai Tac, met with representatives from the city’s six casino operators and thanked them for the support provided to prevention and mitigation work to face Typhoon Mangkhut.
According to a government press release, Mr Leong noted that the citywide suspension of gaming operations helped ensure the safety of the general public, of visitors to Macau and of casino employees. He also thanked casino operators for providing free parking spaces for private vehicles in the car parks inside their respective casino properties, to ensure the safety of vehicles during the passage of the typhoon in Macau.
When Typhoon Hato struck the city in August 2017, leading to 10 deaths in the city, some of the fatalities were recorded inside underground car parks that got flooded. Hundreds of private vehicles parked in some of the city’s low-lying areas also got damaged, as those areas were heavily flooded.
The government release quoted the casino operator representatives stating that they hoped the Macau government could, in future, provide emergency instructions with more advance notice, so that they could implement appropriate measures to ensure the safety of workers and tourists.
Some casino worker groups have been calling for some years for the city’s casino employees to be exempted from work when Typhoon Signal No.8 or above is hoisted. Many public service workers are excused workplace attendance in those circumstances.
Some of Macau’s most outspoken labour groups have praised the blanket suspension of operations in the city’s casinos during Typhoon Mangkhut. That included local gaming labour activist group New Macau Gaming Staff Rights Association: according to group director Cloee Chao, the association planned to deliver on Wednesday a letter to Macau’s gaming regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, urging the government to make it compulsory for local casinos to suspend operations when Typhoon Signal No.8 or above is hoisted by the local weather bureau.
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”Ramp ups [of new Macau casinos] are taking a little bit longer. The market is somewhat volatile at the moment, but we continue to look at all the opportunities and are still very comfortable that things are starting to move ahead”
Chief executive of MGM China Holdings