Macau the biggest gambling hub in the world was not fully prepared for a Typhoon Hato that hit the peninsula on Wednesday, August 23. The Tropical Cyclone Warning Signal No.10 was issued in the afternoon and caused a lot of panic as this was the first time in a long time that a Signal No 10 warning has been issued. The government closes down air, road and ferry transport when a Signal No 8 warning is issued.
Macau has faced a number of typhoons over the years but nothing as severe as Typhoon Hato. This was the worst typhoon that has hit the peninsula in the last 53 years and caused significant damage to property, massive flooding and claimed 3 lives. Neighboring Hong Kong also suffered the fury of Typhoon Hato as the Stock Exchange was shut down, businesses closed and 450 flights were cancelled.
Casino Operations Hit
Macau is home to some of the best casinos in the world and these properties lost a lot of business on Wednesday and looked deserted. Melco Resort’s Studio City which is located in the Cotai district suffered damage near its entrance and some of the pictures did the rounds on social media websites.  Melco’s City of Dreams casino saw a number of its windows broken and glass was strewn everywhere while its Altira property had power issued. As a result, Altira decided to relocate its guests to other properties in the Cotai area.
The company issued a statement stating that its properties had witnessed minimal external damage and will continue to remain fully operational. The damage is expected to be repaired during the next few days.
These multi-million dollar casino resorts usually have backup generators to ensure that there is power at all times. However due to the severity of the typhoon, a number of these backup generators were also damaged. MGM Resorts decided to close their MGM Macau casino from Wednesday night till Thursday morning and plans to open up the facility towards Thursday evening.
Sands China also faced a number of issues concerning power and water supply at its properties. The company stated that public security and safety would continue to be a priority for the company and it had taken steps to ensure that its guests continued to remain safe and comfortable even in the midst of Typhoon Hata.
In a statement, Japanese brokerage firm Nomura said “Our analysis suggests the potential negative impact to monthly GGR growth could be approximately 600 to 700 basis points, or year-over-year growth of 19 percent versus our prior estimate of approximately 25 percent.”
U.S Casino Stock Prices Impacted
Three out of the six major casino operators in Macau are American companies. The damage caused by Typhoon Hata was felt at the casino properties but also in the stock markets in America. Wynn Resorts saw its shares drop by $1.41 which was a little more than 1 percent while Las Vegas Sands Corp saw their share prices drop by $0.68 cents, which was a 1.1. percent decline. MGM took a little damage as share prices fell by $0.28 cents which was a 0.9 percent decline.
Macau’s casinos are expected to slowly resume operations on August 24 but given the fact that a number of them are running on backup generators, it could pose a problem as they will have to have sufficient gas to function. There have also been photos on social media which show a number of casino floors being flooded but there has been no confirmation so far as to which of these properties have been flooded.
Ferry & Airport Services Disrupted
Macau receives a majority of its visitors via its ferry services which run from Mainland China and Hong Kong. Macau closed its ferry terminals on Wednesday and resumed services to Hong Kong on Thursday. The ferry terminals in Macau also suffered damage and as a result, ferry services are being limited till the damage is rectified. Macau also shut its airport on Wednesday and cancelled all flights. The airport has opened on Thursday and was slowly getting back to normal operations.
Macau’s government has stated that it was in the process of ascertaining overall damage and resorting electricity and water supply at the earliest.

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