The management of United States-based casino operator Wynn Resorts Ltd says it expects Macau to be able to control a “small cluster” of fresh Covid-19 infections “within a couple of weeks”. Travel restrictions in the region have been increased “quite significantly” in recent days, said the executives, without commenting on the possible impact that the measures might have on business volumes.
Wynn Resorts is the parent of Wynn Macau Ltd, which runs the Wynn Macau complex (pictured) on the city’s peninsula, and the Wynn Palace casino resort in the Cotai district.
Macau has from Wednesday morning instituted mass testing of the local population, after a local family of four was confirmed as having caught the highly-infectious Delta variant of Covid-19
Matt Maddox, the group’s chief executive, said Macau “has been continuously two steps forward, one step back.” Speaking on Wednesday, in a conference call with investment analysts following the group’s second-quarter results announcement, the CEO said travel restrictions in the region have been increased “quite significantly” in recent days due to the new Covid-19 outbreak.
“We don’t know how long this is going to last, but the experience thus far – with the decisive action, and the ability to test millions of people just in a matter of days in the region and Macau – does give us great hope that this will pass,” said Mr Maddox.
Ian Coughlan, president of Wynn Macau Ltd, said on the call there was “confidence that the current small cluster [in Macau] will be under control within a couple of weeks.” But he added that “more normal” travel arrangements in the region would be “linked to vaccination rates,” not only in Macau, but also in mainland China and Hong Kong.
Macau’s Chief Executive said at a Wednesday press conference that the government was not ordering the closure of the city’s casinos, despite a variety of “entertainment venues” being shuttered from after the stroke of midnight on Thursday (August 5). The city’s leader said it was hoped the local Covid-19 situation could be controlled within 14 days.
Since 6am on Wednesday, people travelling between Zhuhai and Macau need to present a certificate issued within 12 hours of departure, showing a ‘negative’ result for Covid-19, announced the authorities in the neighbouring city of Zhuhai, Guangdong province.
Anyone wishing to leave Macau is required to submit a certificate issued within 24 hours of departure, showing a ‘negative’ result for the virus.
In other comments on Wynn Resorts’ earnings call, Mr Maddox said the second-quarter results showed that there was “real pent-up demand in the region”. Despite a “strong” start to the quarter, a Covid-19 outbreak in Guangdong in late May “greatly suppressed the volumes in June,” said the executive.
Gross gaming revenue in June was negatively affected by tighter countermeasures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in Macau, coinciding with new cases in Guangdong, the largest-single feeder market currently for Macau’s tourists. The measures were gradually eased between the second half of June and early July.
Mr Maddox added: “We did start to see a slight comeback in the middle of July … and we are getting close to the April and May results, which clearly indicates that there is real pent-up demand in the region,” among people interested “to go to Macau”.
The CEO also said the Macau market has “structurally changed,” with a lot of VIP customers “converting to more direct customers”.
“The idea that VIP would revert to its previous levels, I think that it’s clearly foregone, it’s not going to happen,” he noted. “But I anticipate that … the premium-mass and mass will be stronger than it has ever been.”
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