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Shares in Macau’s land-based casino operators have stooped after being ordered to close due to climbing Covid-19 cases.

Today (11 July) marks the first day of a week-long lockdown order issued by Macau’s government after 93 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the region on Sunday.

This brought the total number of new cases recorded during the outbreak beginning on 18 June to 1,467. That figure represents some 0.2% of Macau’s 650,000 residents.

As a result, the government has ordered all non-essential businesses – including casinos – to remain closed, while residents will face further restrictions including limits on the number of people allowed to enter public markets at one time, and mandatory PCR testing for service workers such as security guards and cleaners.

The response is similar to China’s method of dealing with Covid-19 infections, relying on mass testing and the confinement of residents to prevent transmission.

This has created difficulties for businesses in the region since the onset of the pandemic in 2020, after which months of continued closure ensued for casinos and other businesses alike.

Repeated changes to lockdown regulations, introduced in an attempt to curb transmission of the illness according to the latest available information, have now left businesses in Macau in limbo for upwards of two years.

The gaming sector – which accounts for some 80% of Macau’s GDP – has perhaps been hit hardest of all. 

Bloomberg Intelligence analysts now predict GGR in the jurisdiction may reach just 9% of 2019 levels between now and September.

The reduction is a combined result of the closures themselves and the further impact they may have on the willingness of international visitors to plan trips to Macau in the short- to medium-term.

Shares in Sands China are down more than 8% today, while MGM China and SJM Holdings are down by 5% and 7%, respectively.

Looking at the year-to-date, shares in those three businesses have fallen by 5%, 13% and 37%, respectively.

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