Staff, 2023-01-07 18:01:25,
With its giant golden lotus flower skyscraper perched atop an egg-shaped dome, the Grand Lisboa casino resort has long been a landmark and symbol of prosperity and good fortune for the Chinese territory of Macau.
But as the city’s draconian zero-Covid restrictions ended last month, only a few dozen patrons were on the main gaming floor of the 14-year-old property, owned by the late gambling mogul Stanley Ho’s SJM Holdings. The lifting of restrictions had contributed to a high Covid infection rate among staff at Macau’s tallest building, while tourists were slow to return.
Almost half of its baccarat betting tables were left unattended or unused. An area for high-stakes betting was closed and its six restaurants, including the three-star Michelin-rated Robuchon au Dôme, were not fully open.
Prolonged pandemic border controls that had barred high rollers from mainland China — who used to make up over half of its gaming revenue — have crushed the Asian gaming mecca, the only place where casino gambling is legal in China. It has now given its gambling crown back to Las Vegas, with 2022 being one of Macau’s worst years on record.
In addition to trying to revive their core business, the six major gambling operators now have the extra burden of trying to build and expand non-gaming ventures. It was a requirement attached to the renewal of their licences on January 1, as the local government tries to diversify an economy dependent on gambling. Beijing was behind the…
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