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Macau licks wounds following Hato rampage

Details continue to emerge over the aftermath of the Category 10 typhoon which struck Macau and Hong Kong yesterday, causing severe flooding and damage to properties in the region.

A total of 12 people have been reported killed so far, with eight of those fatalities in Macau. 244 people were injured in Macau. 

Transportation disruptions and severe flooding brought certain parts of the city to a standstill.

While details are limited at this stage, it is understood that most ferry transport has resumed, as well as airport activity in both Hong Kong and Macau airport.

Bernstein noted that some casino properties have suffered flooding damage, but the cost of repairs is likely to be relatively minor.

As of Thursday, most properties on Cotai had resumed casino operations, however most Peninsula casino operations are still suspended.

“While some casino operations remain closed, we anticipate most casinos opening later today or tomorrow,” said the brokerage.

In a press statement, MGM Macau said it had sustained some damage to the building, which they noted was relatively minor and will not have any impact on our return to normal operations. 

"Yesterday a major typhoon passed through Macau affecting the entire community.  While this was an exceptional situation, we have been working closely with the combined support of the Macau government and the utilities companies including our power, water and telephone services to restore operations and protect our employees and guests.

 We would like to thank our staff for their hard work and cooperation during this difficult time. We are reaching out to all of our employees to make certain everyone is safe and accounted for," said the operator. 

Union Gaming says it expects a  "temporary dramatic share shift towards Cotai as it could take a few days for the Macau peninsula to get back on its feet."

The brokerage said it also observed many full casino shuttle buses arriving at Cotai properties, and said given the relative inability of mass market customers to redirect an already-planned holiday, expects the low-end of the mass market to remain robust despite the typhoon. 

Premium mass and VIP customers however, are likely to lay low for a while, says Union Gaming.

"This will also have a disproportionately negative impact on the high-end heavy peninsula."

As a result of the disruptions, Bernstein says it is reducing its August GGR estimate down to MOP22.2 - 22.8 billion for the month, representing a year-on-year increase in August of 18 to 21 percent, down from a prior estimate of 24 - 26 percent.

During a press conference held at the government headquarters, Macau chief executive Chui Sai On pledged the Government would enhance its effort to alleviate the impact of Typhoon Hato, and to help people resume their lives as quickly as possible. 

Mr Chui, on behalf of the Government, expressed again his deepest condolences to the families of those people that died during the event and conveyed his profound sympathy for all people affected by the typhoon.

He also expressed his apologies to the public for any shortcomings regarding the Government’s work in handling the event, but noted that nonetheless dedicated efforts had been taken regarding the forecasting for the typhoon – the strongest recorded storm in Macao for 53 years – and for preparations regarding its arrival.

Director of the Meteorological and Geophysical Bureau, Mr Fong Soi Kun, resigned from his post. 

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