Sands China today announced the donation of MOP25 million (US$3.1 million) to help fight the outbreak of the new coronavirus, bringing the help of casino operators in Macau to almost MOP90 million.
Sands China, which has five casinos in the gaming capital of the world, explained that the money to be handed over to Chinese and Macau authorities is “to help address the current public health challenges caused by the outbreak of the new coronavirus”.
Of the global amount – assumed in coordination with the Liaison Office of the Central Chinese Government in the Macau SAR – MOP20 million are intended to “help [Mainland China] in its efforts to fight the virus, and another MOP5 million to support the local community in implementing preventive measures, ”according to a statement from the company that explores casinos in the gambling capital of the world.
“Las Vegas Sands has always considered it an honor to do business in Macau, while recognizing and embracing its important role as a partner in the community, especially in difficult times like this,” said the executive director of the US company and Sands China, Sheldon Adelson.
“We strongly support Macau and mainland China in their efforts to contain the coronavirus and protect their citizens. Our experience is that people in Macau and mainland China are strong and resilient and these characteristics will undoubtedly be needed in the coming days. We will certainly do everything we can to help everything return to normal as soon as possible,” he added, quoted in the statement.
SJM Holdings, with 22 casinos in the territory, announced on Wednesday the donation of MOP20 million, with the same objective.
In a statement, SJM indicated that the donation is intended to purchase protective equipment and medical supplies to assist in efforts to prevent and combat the disease in China’s Hubei province, where the first cases of infection were detected in Wuhan.
“We wish a speedy recovery to all people and all economies affected by the virus,” said SJM’s chairman, Daisy Ho, daughter of the group’s founder Stanley Ho.
On January 29, Melco Resorts, which operates four casinos in the territory, had announced a donation of HK$20 million. to Hubei. On February 2, it was the turn of the Galaxy Entertainment Group, with six casinos, also announcing MOP20 million for the same province.
The Government of Macau has sent thousands of civil servants home, where they continue to work, but at a distance, another solution to combat the dangers of the outbreak, which has already caused 563 deaths and infected more than 28,000 people in Wuhan, where the epidemic began and city in the center of China.
Macau closed the casinos and announced the closure of cultural and sports venues, as well as all types of business, which is practically paralyzing the economy, already in recession.
On Tuesday, the head of the territory’s government, Ho Iat Seng, assumed that these were difficult decisions and would “cause a lot of economic damage, but Macau manages to take that risk”.
The Consulate General of Portugal estimates that there are 170,000 Portuguese passport holders among residents in Macau and Hong Kong. Of these, only about six or seven thousand will be expatriates.