Macau will still lead global gaming recovery, says tourism expert

Glenn McCartney, associate professor at the University of Macau

Macau will still be the epicenter of the global gaming recovery, according to local tourism and gaming expert Glenn McCartney, even as other jurisdictions are showing more advanced signs of business normalization.
The perspective comes as casino jurisdictions such as Las Vegas, Singapore and Monaco are already welcoming back patrons. Meanwhile, Macau holds its breath for China to resume issuing exit visas.
“Macau will catch up,” McCartney, an associate professor of integrated resort and tourism management at the University of Macau, told Macau Daily Times on the sidelines of a talk organized by the British Chamber of Commerce in Macau. “Nevada has its problems with Covid-19 breakouts and they are now having to close down hospitality areas. [But] Macau has been very cautious with regards to its opening, and that step-by-step approach will pay off in the medium- to long-term. It will take a few more months, but eventually we will see the leaps and bounds in revenue.”
Casino properties around the world are undertaking dramatic operational changes as they prepare to welcome back patrons, gradually at first and then en masse.
According to McCartney, a new emphasis on health and sanitation inside Macau casinos is not going to lead to radical changes to the business itself.
“Some of the actions we do inside the casino will change,” admitted McCartney, “but I don’t see this as disrupting the industry experience. There is a lot of exchange between cards, dice and chips, and that’s part of the casino experience. That won’t go away, but there will be a lot more sanitizing and cleaning in casinos.”
McCartney drew a comparison with air travel in the 21st century, noting that the aviation industry has thrived in the past two decades even as there have been dramatic changes to how we fly.
“Sure, we have many more measures in place when we arrive at the airport today – and the same is going to be true of casinos in a way – but we are still traveling more than ever before and boarding more planes than ever before,” said the tourism and gaming expert.
McCartney said that Covid-19 will “not stop the growing numbers of people that want to come to Macau to gamble.”
How this will play out in reality remains to be seen, said McCartney, adding that enforcing the social distancing requirements when tourists return is going to be a real challenge.
“I don’t have the answers,” he said. “There has been nobody here for months. So as people arrive, we are going to learn how to manage [our circumstances]. We are going to have to wait and see the reactions of patrons when they return to the casino floor.”

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