Massive Typhoon Hato Hits Macau, Kills Five, Temporarily Closes Casinos
Posted on: August 23, 2017, 02:15h.
Last updated on: August 23, 2017, 01:53h.
Typhoon Hato ripped through Macau on Wednesday. The maximum “category 10” storm, the worst Macau has seen in 18 years, has left at least five dead while wreaking widespread havoc and destruction across the casino capital of Asia.
According to local media, powerful winds and heavy rain uprooted trees and caused streets to flood, forcing businesses to close, while most of the casino enclave, including its hospital, faced significant disruption from power and telecommunication outages.
Among the dead were a 30-year-old man was crushed when a wall collapsed in the strong winds, and a 62-year-old man who fell from his 11th floor apartment balcony. A 45-year-old Chinese tourist also was killed when hit by a heavy truck trying to flee rising floodwaters, according to a Macau government statement.
Before hitting Macau around noon local time, Hato had come within 37 miles of Hong Kong, where there were reports of injuries but no fatalities as winds blew out windows from skyscrapers, sending glass panes crashing onto the streets below.
Thousands of people were evacuated from coastal areas on mainland China, too, according to China’s official Xinhua news agency.
Deadly Storm Damage
Reuters reported that many casinos relied on backup generators during the blackout, but Macau’s casino regulator told GGR Asia that it had asked operators to suspend gaming operations before flipping over to their alternative power supply.
A Wynn Casino Macau staff member told the South China Morning Post, “All our systems broke down. We do not have electricity and water.”
Hotels have been advising guests to stay in their rooms and on property, as the area undergoes a two-day shutdown to accommodate emergency services.
Images circulated on social media on Wednesday showing structural wind damage to the entrance of the Melco Resorts’ Studio City, and windows smashed at its City of Dreams resort. An image of the Galaxy Macau showed debris strewn across the pool area.
Casino Shutdown Plans
The Post reported that gaming tables at the Four Seasons hotel remained closed even after the storm subsided.
“Due to the blackout of power and [lack of] water supply, we cannot run the restaurants and casino,” a staff member said. “We’re not sure when we can reopen. We are not accepting reservations at the moment.”
Some casino properties seemed less affected than others.
“Our properties have suffered minimal external damage, which will be repaired over the next few days, [but] City of Dreams and Studio City remain fully operational” said a public announcement from Melco Resorts.
Their Altira resort, however, was without power, which prompted the casino to “take pre-emptive measures by relocating guests to our Cotai properties.”
Representatives from the Japanese brokerage Nomura said the shutdown for hotels will certainly have an extended impact on tourism to the region, and revised its estimate accordingly for year-on-year gross gaming revenue growth for August, from 25 percent to 18 percent.