Casino Macau Jockey Club (pictured in a file photo) – inside the Macau Roosevelt Hotel – can stay shut beyond the Friday (March 20) reopening deadline originally set for all casinos in the Macau market, and which followed a 15-day shuttering last month – unprecedented in modern times – to try to stem the spread of a novel coronavirus.
The casino - licensed as a satellite property under the Macau gaming rights of SJM Holdings Ltd – can stay closed for “renovation works”, said the city’s casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, in a Thursday press release.
After the release was issued, the gaming bureau confirmed that another casino in the city would be temporarily closed, meaning the city would have an aggregate of 37 gaming venues in operation. Casino Taipa, located at the Regency Art Hotel, was to suspend operations on Thursday afternoon, as that property is to be used – for an unspecified duration – by the government to quarantine people arriving in Macau. The gaming venue is also operated under the licence of SJM Holdings.
All the other active casinos in Macau were in “normal operation”, according to the casino regulator, a body also known by its Portuguese acronym, DICJ.
Macau casinos had been allowed up to 30 days – i.e., until this Friday – to resume operations.
In its Thursday release, the gaming regulator noted that Macau currently had approximately 5,400 gaming tables in operation, representing about 80 percent of the city’s table inventory.
Two other casinos – namely Casino Macau Palace and Casino Greek Mythology – remain shuttered, according to the gaming regulator. Those two venues had been inactive before the government-ordered 15-day shutdown.
“DICJ will continue to monitor casinos round-the-clock, and ensure all the prevention and control measures are in place,” the bureau said in the Thursday statement, referring to a range of anti-coronavirus safety measures.
They include; temperature screening of anyone entering a casino floor; requiring staff and guests to put on masks upon entering the property; asking casino patrons to fill a declaration form about their health; and banning from casinos anyone that had been in the Chinese mainland province of Hubei in the previous 14 days. The Macau government also requires gaming operators to disinfect their gaming facilities and equipment inside casinos, and maintain distancing measures between operational gaming tables and slot machines.
Those control measures might be subject to adjustment depending on how the coronavirus situation evolved locally, DICJ noted in the Thursday statement.
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"There’s a huge amount of possibilities out there and in the case of Macau, it seems that some of these issues should be considered or we may lose the epithet of gambling capital of the world"
Macau-based lawyer and senior partner at law firm Rato, Ling, Lei and Cortés