Casinos in Macau have been shut down for the first time this century after Typhoon Mangkhut impacted electricity supply and flooded several districts.
The city’s Meteorological Bureau issued several Typhoon Signal warnings during the night, including a black storm surge warning, with predictions of 2.5-metre-high flooding. As a result, all casinos in Macau ceased operations from 11pm on Saturday. It marked the first-ever casino closure in Macau since the handover. Some tourists from the Chinese mainland expressed their disappointment, but casino operators in the area were left little choice, given the potential danger posed by the typhoon.
Residents and tourists were warned through loudspeakers that they should evacuate lower-lying area, including the Inner Harbour and Rua de Cinco de Outubro, and the warnings were well founded as the sea level in the Inner Harbour had reached two metres during the afternoon, and sea water later inundated many of the streets in the area.
A matter of life and death
Government officials and police officers were warning that evacuating was a matter of life and death.
Many emergency workers were involved in patrolling in boats to find people who had become stranded, including three residents who had to be rescued from the second floor of a shop.
Power cuts were another problem, which would have made it difficult for Macau’s casinos to remain in operation. Essential equipment in the Inner Harbour and Lam Mau Tong area wasn’t working due to power outages, and there were blackouts across several districts, including in Avenida de Almeida Ribeiro and residential areas like Patane. The Macau Electricity Company said they had been forced to cut the power in some areas to prevent damage to power supply facilities.
It is not yet known how long the casinos in Macau will be closed, as the clean-up begins, but re-opening will largely depend on how much flooding and water damage each facility has sustained.
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Andie Hughes is a UK-based freelance betting and gambling writer with over a decade of experience in the industry, having written for Betfair, ESPN, Boylesports, Sporting Life and various other popular betting sites. Contact Andie at firstname.lastname@example.org.