Two Macau waterfront resorts with casino facilities – Ponte 16 (pictured) and Macau Fisherman’s Wharf – have respectively fitted floodgates and made other changes to try to guard against the risk of business disruption due to severe-weather flooding, especially typhoon-related flooding.
The resorts’ respective Hong Kong-listed promoters – Success Universe Group Ltd and Macau Legend Development Ltd – gave the information to GGRAsia in response to our enquiries.
Earlier this week the Macau government said it had held talks with local casino operators to urge them to take all feasible measures to prevent typhoon-related disruption during the 2019 typhoon period, which could begin this month.
The casino and hotel at Legend Palace, overlooking open water at Fisherman’s Wharf on Macau peninsula, were closed for nearly four weeks after 2017′s category-10 storm known as Typhoon Hato, due to flooding. Ponte 16, a casino hotel resort in Macau’s Inner Harbour district, also saw a gaming area flooded during Hato and saw resort operations badly affected. Both venues are so-called satellite properties under the gaming licence of SJM Holdings Ltd.
Hoffman Ma Ho Man, deputy chairman and executive director of Ponte 16′s promoter Success Universe, told us: “Two months ago, we’d already completed and installed new mechanical anti-flood barriers, which protects the left and right side of our property.” The complex runs parallel to the south bank of the river that links to the Inner Harbour.
The barrier was purchased from a specialist Singapore supplier called Parafoil Design and Engineering Pte Ltd. Mr Ma told us that in recent times Ponte 16 had spent “millions” of Hong Kong dollars on work related to flood defence. Given the large amounts of money wagered in Macau’s 24-hour casinos, any venues experiencing several days of closure can quickly lose significant sums, investment analysts have noted.
Mr Ma stated: “The mechanical anti-flood barrier is above 1 metre [3.3 feet] in height. Compared to traditional floodgates, this device can be raised and lowered faster and is also equipped with a drainage system.”
The Success Universe executive further stated: “We’ve also relocated some of our hub [electrical wiring] boxes to more elevated places from under the property’s base floor, or have had them installed higher up on the walls.”
He also noted that sandbags had been placed near to the ground-floor entrance to the Ponte 16 casino, in preparation for any possible flooding. Ponte 16 was already being protected by a flood barrier upgraded last year.
Across the peninsula, casino hotel Legend Palace – and Babylon Casino, a gaming facility with no hotel – are among the waterfront facilities at Fisherman’s Wharf that are now being protected with floodgates and water-pumping equipment.
A spokesperson for resort promoter Macau Legend told GGRAsia the work was in order for the complex to be “better prepared in times of severe weather”.
The person also explained in the emailed reply: “Our staff have also received additional training to handle such situations.”
The waterfront complex is also home to the Rocks Hotel and the Harbourview Hotel.
Tyhoon Hato struck Macau on August 23, 2017 with wind speeds of 200 kilometres per hour (124 mph), contributing to 10 deaths in the city and leading to widespread damage to infrastructure that disrupted the city’s whole tourism industry for more than a week afterwards.
The Macao Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau forecast in March this year that between four and six typhoons could come within an 800-kilometre (500-mile) radius of Macau during 2019. It said the first such severe storm might arrive by mid-June, and that the 2019 typhoon season might run until early October.
Last September, Macau saw its first city-wide pause of gaming operations in the modern era. The local government and the city’s six operators agreed to the move due to the passage of Typhoon Mangkhut, the second category-10 storm to have an effect on Macau in little more than a 12-month period.
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