The Chinese city of Macau shuttered its 41 casinos amid the coronavirus outbreak. At least 492 people in mainland China have died from the virus, including one person in Hong Kong, a special territory near Macau. More than 24,000 have been sickened by the pneumonialike illness, which began in Wuhan last month.
After 10 people in Macau fell ill, including hotel employee at Galaxy Casino, authorities sprung into action. For reference, closing Macau’s casinos would be like shutting down the Las Vegas Strip, but nearly six times as worse.
According to 2018 revenue numbers, Macau generated $37.9 billion, Forbes reported. Las Vegas, arguably the most popular gambling destination in North America, brought in $6.6 billion, Nevada Gaming Control Board revealed. The shut down could result in Macau losing 5 to 15 percent of their gaming revenue in 2020, Matthew Ossolinski, a gambling consultant and investor, told the New York Times in a February 4 report.
Closing casinos in Macau for half a month amid the outbreak could turn out to be costly, but it’s necessary. “Of course, this was a difficult decision, but we must do it for the health of Macau’s residents,” Ho Iat Seng, the chief executive of the semiautonomous Chinese territory, said in a press conference, according to the Times. “Macau can still bear these economic losses.”