Gov’t should not demand more from casinos, which are trying to recover – Analyst

Tourism analyst Glenn McCartney told Lusa today that gaming operators cannot be demanded more social responsibility when integrated resorts are trying to recover from the economic impact caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.

“The industry practically had no revenue for several weeks”, it is not just the integrated resorts, but all the companies that are inside these complexes, “all the retailers, the restaurants, the entertainment sector, the bars”, Glenn McCartney a Professor in International Integrated Resort Management at the University of Macau told Lusa.

“It is a domino effect that affects everyone”, he stressed.

Today, the Macau Chief Executive warned gaming operators that is the time to respond to the challenge of social responsibility, when authorities look for hotels to convert into quarantine centers.

Ho Iat Seng also admitted that it may include a social responsibility clause to be followed by operators.

With thousands of people quarantined and about 1,500 isolated in eight hotels, the head of the Macau government explained that services “are disappointed” with the difficulty of finding establishments and stressed that operators and resorts “have to see how must assume social responsibility ”.

“What I liked to hear were collaborative speeches instead of ‘these are my terms’,” criticized the expert, adding that all the integrated “resorts” have been good “citizens” “.

The measures taken by the Government have worked and the population has appreciated the authorities’ decisions, such as border control in the territory and the mandatory 14-day quarantine imposed on practically everyone who enters Macau, he said.

The Government ordered the casinos, bars and gym to be closed, for example “and [the operators] closed, there was no negotiation”, he stressed, reinforcing that the Government has demanded answers that have always been given by the operators.

“There will come a time when there must be tourism collaboration (…) between the public and the private sector, working side by side on a problem that is common,” he said.

Of course, it can be said that concessionaires have money, even the Macau Government has significant financial reserves, “but the small business is the one who suffers the most”, which depends on these tourist and commercial mega-complexes to survive, said McCartney.

“The [gaming] industry now expects a clear indication of when parts of China will be open” for tourism in Macau, he said.

“You are not asking to return to normality, because it will take some time, but at least they can receive some people and thus start to enter some revenue within the integrated ‘resorts'”, concluded the expert.

Current official figures point to a 95 per cent drop in visitor numbers in February and casino revenues by around 90 per cent. The Macau government expects to lose half of the proceeds from gambling this year.

Macao authorities announced on Monday another case of contagion from Covid-19, bringing the number of infected people to 25 since the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

This was the 15th case detected by the authorities in just over a week, after Macau had been 40 days without identifying any infection.

Macau recorded a first wave of ten cases in February, which have already been discharged. After detecting new cases, all imported, the authorities reinforced border control measures and restrictions.

The new coronavirus, responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic, has already infected more than 345,000 people worldwide, of whom more than 15,100 have died.

After appearing in China in December, the outbreak spread across the world, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare a pandemic situation.

Several countries have adopted exceptional measures, including the quarantine regime and border closure.