Covid Resurrected in Asia

An uptick in cases of the Delta variant of Covid has caused several Pacific Rim countries to re-impose restrictions on casinos and travel. While Macau is cautiously reopening other countries are instituting restrictions once again.

Covid Resurrected in Asia

In Macau, the Covid-19 recovery has been hampered by recent new cases in Mainland China’s Guangdong Province and delays in the planned travel bubble with Hong Kong. But in a July 19 note, JP Morgan analysts DS Kim, Derek Choi and Livy Lyu said demand continues to grow. “Our checks suggest upbeat summer holidays, with encouraging feedback on the level of player inquiry and booking,” they wrote.

“We expect gross gaming revenue to resume sequential recovery path in July (+30 percent month-on-month) and print a post-pandemic high in August (+20 percent month-on-month), helping investors to regain confidence before the all-important October Golden Week,” a national holiday and a usually a tourism peak for Macau.

In the memo, reported GGRAsia, the analysts projected that a travel bubble between Macau, Hong Kong and Guangdong could be launched by September “on a limited scale at first,” though any plan is subject to change if Covid-19 infections grow.

The team is “hoping to see border/visa largely normalized by end-2021/early-2022,” they wrote. “Looking at the bright side, this means we may have positive headlines every few weeks into fourth quarter, which could keep the investor sentiment afloat.”

Though the analysts were frankly “disappointed” by “sluggish re-opening” of travel to Macau, they said the recovery of the industry there is “not broken, only delayed by a few months. GGR snapped back onto recovery course as soon as borders normalized in early July, with weekly run-rate back at May levels.”

They said they expect mass GGR to grow 20 percent quarter-on-quarter in the next four quarters and climb to pre-pandemic levels by the third quarter of 2022.

“We continue to think VIP is structurally impaired and can never go back to previous levels, modelling only 35 percent to 40 percent recovery by 2022,” the JP Morgan team added.

Meanwhile, the SAR has appealed for advice to Beijing on when and how to reopen its border with Hong Kong. Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U said, “We want them to give us their opinions and views about the [possible] border opening between Hong Kong and Macau, with the hope of enabling the Hong Kong-Macau border opening to get off the ground as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile, Ao Ieong said that the number of people lining up to be vaccinated against Covid-19 has dropped to 2,000 recently, as opposed to the peak several weeks ago when about 10,000 people a day made an appointment to get the jabs.

Covid-19 vaccinations in Macau are voluntary, but Ao Ieong urged residents to take seriously their “social responsibility” and help create herd immunity in the region as soon as possible.


Some resort operators in Australia were recently compelled to close again due to a new spate of Covid-19 infections. Star Entertainment Group has locked down its flagship Star Sydney through July at least.

But in other areas, casino restrictions have eased up, along with the number of Covid-19 infections. Star’s two Queensland casinos, Star Gold Coast and Treasury Brisbane, are now permitted to increase capacity with mandatory mask-wearing.

According to the Australian Age, New South Wales is now coping with its largest viral outbreak since the start of the pandemic. Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton has declared all of NSW an “extreme risk zone.”

“If people enter Victoria from an Extreme Risk Zone without an exemption, they will be put on a return flight or placed in 14 days mandatory hotel quarantine. Exemptions will only be granted in exceptional circumstances,” the department said in a series of tweets.

“If you attempt to enter via an airport or seaport without an exemption, exception or valid permit you will be fined up to $5,452,” he said. ″Non-Victorian residents will be sent back.”

Premier Daniel Andrews asked Victorians to observe lockdown protocols so the state can achieve the “right outcome” sometime this week.

Also, the “travel bubble” that opened recently between Australia and New Zealand has closed due to the outbreak in Oz.


Corona Resort & Casino on Phu Quoc Island, Vietnam, will be “temporarily closed until further notice” due to a surge in Covid-19 infections. Vietnam’s only locals casino, Corona is located in the southern part of the country, which reportedly has experienced the most serious spike in Covid cases.

In a notice to guests, the casino stated, “We apologize for the inconvenience which may effect to you. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and strive to ensure that our guests are able to enjoy their stay feeling safe. We thank for your kindest understanding and support as always.” The latest closure began July 19.

Multiple domestic flights across Vietnam have been either suspended or reduced due to the viral outbreak, Inside Asian Gaming reported.