Macau, Chinese Gambling Hub, Closes Most Businesses

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    “The Macao SAR [special administrative region] government has decided to close public venues, including schools, parks, museums and sports facilities starting on Sunday in an effort to reduce crowd gathering,” Xinhua China, China's official state-owned press agency, announced on 19 June.

    Companies in Macau's public sector, excluding those that deal with essential or emergency services, will be shut down for a period of indefinite time beginning on June 20 and 21. The Macau government has instructed Macau's residents to observe the stay-at-home order starting Sunday.

    “All businesses, except for supermarkets and grocery stores, were asked to remain closed until further notice, and all restaurants suspended dine-in services,” according to Xinhua.

    Many Macau residents reside and work in the nearby Chinese Zhuhai city. The Macau government has restricted travel outside of Macau towards Zhuhai on the 19th of June by imposing stricter anti-epidemic restrictions for commuters.

    “Those leaving Macau for neighboring Zhuhai city in south China's Guangdong province are required to present negative nucleic acid test reports [for the Chinese coronavirus] effective within 24 hours instead of the previous seven days,” Xinhua reported.

    Macau's government has stayed away from closing the lucrative casinos in Macau as of Sunday, however the new Macau movement and travel restrictions will significantly reduce the number of patrons visiting local casinos over the next few days and weeks.

    “[C]asino revenue is likely to be close to zero for at least a week and likely the coming weeks,” Reuters predicted on June 20 according to the opinions of financial experts.

    The Macau economy is largely contingent on its gambling sector. The taxes derived from Macau casinos comprise 80 percent of Macau's government revenues, and the majority of people living in Macau are employed either directly or indirectly in casinos.

    Macau is the sole place in China in which the government permits Chinese citizens to gamble in casinos. The area was once a Portuguese colony from 1887 until 1999. It borders the old British colonies of Hong Kong. Macau is believed to be the world's largest gambling center in the world.

    “Gambling in Macau, which was legalized in the 1850s, makes up a large portion of the region's economy,” Statista announced on the 24th of May. “Revenue from gambling and gaming there surpassed 29 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. In order to put this in perspective, the gambling revenues at one of the largest and most well-known casinos around the globe, Las Vegas, generally is around 6 billion U.S. dollars annually.”

    China's government Communist Party observes a “zero tolerance” policy towards this Chinese coronavirus. This health policy for the public has health officials from the state locking whole cities for weeks to stop new outbreaks from the virus, regardless of whether there is a small amount when compared to the population. Macau is a part of the Chinese government's “zero tolerance” policy, because it is directly governed via Beijing's Chinese Communist Party. To achieve this, the Macau government on Sunday began testing mass quantities of Macau's residents in the search for Chinese coronavirus. This test continued into Monday according to Reuters.

    In recent rounds of massive tests in China, like in Shanghai in Shanghai and Beijing, Communist Party officials have forced people to be quarantined if they have positive tests for coronavirus. 

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