Following the mid-February suspension of casino business and halt to much of air and land traffic within mainland China and Hong Kong, Macau has been struggling to attract visitors to its casinos which now operate at a reduced capacity and according to strict safety and health measures.
The coronavirus pandemic has led to new rules that mandate casinos to subject employees to regular COVID-19 screening and testing, with thermal cameras replacing the ‘Eye in the Sky’ and staff members and guests asked to wear gloves and masks.
Almost three months after the first wave struck, Macau’s casinos continue to chug along at a subdued pace, similar to it's Las Vegas cousin. However, China is planning on establishing a “travel bubble” between Macau, Hong Kong and the mainland, enabling a fresh stream of players back to the special administrative region.
At present, all players need to undergo a 14-day quarantine in Hong Kong and China has locked down all travel. While the land-based segment has been flagging, online and crypto operations have picked up elsewhere, and could take similar market share from the region.
Several casinos have stood tall amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Bitcasino.io, for example, hosted and participated in a crypto poker tournament to raise funds for pandemic measures, while others have taken the opportunity to acquire customers who want somewhere online to gamble.
Other brands, such as WINk and Cloudbet benefited from the scything of land-based numbers, successfully appealing to new players to come and try more premium crypto gaming solutions powered by the blockchain or familiar cryptocurrencies.
Within the crypto sector, online casinos have seen a pickup in operations, allowing brands to be a little more aggressive with their marketing strategies. mBitCasino, for example, has completely suspended FIAT payments and dedicated to cryptocurrency transactions entirely.