Macau casino revenue plunges as Covid-19 takes it toll on economy

Saturday 2nd May 2020

HONG KONG: Macau's gaming revenue was virtually wiped out in April as casinos suffered their worst month on record owing to measures put in place to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic in the tourist-dependent city.

Gross gaming revenue wasUS $95 million last month, official data showed -- a drop of 97% from the $3 billion raked in during April 2019.

The former Portuguese colony shuttered all its casinos for two weeks in February as the virus burst out of central China but while they have since reopened, anti-virus measures still mean mainland visitors cannot enter the city, leaving casino tables devoid of gamblers.

Meanwhile, Singapore said it had begun moving migrant workers who had recovered from the coronavirus onto two unused cruise ships.

The vast majority of the city-state's new infections are in sprawling dormitory complexes housing foreign workers, many of whom are labourers from South Asia.

To reduce the risk of infection in crowded dorms, many migrant workers have been moved to other sites including military barracks and vacant apartment blocks.

Elsewhere, Riot police hit Hong Kong's streets ahead of planned rallies by pro-democracy protesters who were looking to defy restrictions on gatherings during the pandemic to voice anger against authoritarian Chinese rule.

The semi-autonomous financial hub was upended by seven months of violent protests last year, hammering its reputation for stability and leaving the city deeply divided.

Small protests have bubbled up in the past week and activists are hoping to use May Day holiday weekend to muster numbers once more. - AFP

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