n a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus, casinos in Macau, the only place in China where it is legal to gamble, were forced to close for two weeks at the beginning of February and last week, officials also barred visitors from all other countries from entering the peninsula.
Now, the industry in the China enclave is facing renewed restrictions as officials imposed new limitations on tourism, this time from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, Nasdaq reports.
MGM, Las Vegas Sands, and Wynn Resorts have seen all of their properties in the U.S. closed in the last week as states began imposing shelter-in-place orders to contain the pandemic. Macau was seen as a relief valve for the casino businesses as it provided an outlet for them to still generate revenue. However, that is now in doubt: after reopening, MGM Resorts said visitations to its casinos weren't rebounding.
Residents who return from anywhere outside Macau must now go through a 14-day period of quarantine upon their arrival. Even if they haven't traveled abroad or gone to either Hong Kong or Taiwan, they will still need to undergo medical testing at a government-operated facility before being allowed out.
Macau casinos have been criticized for not allowing their facilities to be used for medical use even though the government was willing to pay for the rooms.
Gambling revenue plunged 88% in February following the forced closure. Analysts are expecting a 70% year-over-year decline for March.