Macau closure might be longer than anticipated

By Noah Taylor Updated
Macau and Chinese authorities arrest 46 people for suspected loan sharking

The chief operating officer of Las Vegas Sands is worried that Macau casinos could close for more than 15 days as hotel occupancy drops to below 10 per cent.

Asgam reports that Rob Goldstein, chief operating officer, has expressed concerns that the casino closure will be longer than stated.

“It could be two weeks, it could be two months,” Goldstein said during an unrelated hearing of the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

“The Macau Chief Executive (Ho Iat Seng) has made it clear that he will not be able to make a decision until he gets further understanding of the virus and its severity in Asia.”

The Sands COO described the 15-day closure as “a scary time” for all gaming concessionaires, but added that gaming operators had received “very positive feedback” from the Macau government.

“The Chief executive is pro-business and we’re hoping under his direction we can get the border open sometime in the first quarter, but there’s no way to know. Look at the SARS event 15-16 years ago. These things are unpredictable,” Goldstein said.

On February 4, Ho Iat Seng announced that all 41 Macau casinos with other gaming operations would be shut down as a result of the coronavirus epidemic.

He expressed at the time his hope that gaming properties could reopen immediately afterwards assuming spread of the virus was shown to be under control.

Occupancy low, but hotels and malls open

Hotels and restaurants can remain open, but Goldstein said Sands’ 13,000 Macau hotel rooms were currently running at only about five to 10 per cent capacity, while restaurants and malls are similarly quiet.

Ultimately, he said, Sands aimed to support the decision of the government.

“They’ve been very supportive of us and they’re eager to open as well because the tax revenue has stopped and Macau depends on gambling,” he said.

“The SAR really depends on gambling revenue and the tax revenue, so it’s quite painful for everybody.”

Hard Rock gives Vegas guests a parting gift

Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is bidding farewell to its resort fees, known to be one of the biggest nuisances Las Vegas visitors are faced with when booking their stay in the city.

Hard Rock Las Vegas has less than a month before closing its doors for good and undergoing a planned $200 million renovation and transformation into Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.

To mark its final days in Vegas, the property has unveiled a No Resort Fees! Offer for new reservation.

The offer will be valid through January 31 and will apply to new reservations through February 2.

Resort fees have become increasingly common in Las Vegas, particularly at properties on the Strip where these charges exceed $50 per night at some resorts.

And their rise in recent years has become increasingly irritating and frowned upon by visitors.

Most recently, casino powerhouse Caesars Entertainment stacked up resort charges at on-Strip Caesars Palace and Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace from $44.31 per night to $51.02 per night, saying that the fees were brought in line with relevant competitors.

MGM Resorts International, another operator with solid Las Vegas presence, raised last summer resort fees at its Aria Vdara and Bellagio resorts to $45 per night.

Eight-month revamp before Virgin relaunch

Hard Rock Las Vegas is set to undergo an eight-month revamp and then be rebranded as Virgin Hotels Las Vegas after the hospitality business of British billionaire Richard Branson purchased the property in the spring of 2018.

Work on the hotel and casino complex’s transformation will kick off on February 3, the day after this year’s Super Bowl.

The renovated and rebranded property is expected to open doors sometime in November 2020.

Hard Rock Las Vegas will remain closed during its transformation.

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