Casinos start to reopen and leverage tourism around the world

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Casinos start to reopen and leverage tourism sector around the world

Land-based casinos have been highly impacted by the effects of the pandemic around the world, but gradually establishments are beginning to resume operations with the acceleration of vaccination in several countries. However, Brazil remains an exception for prohibiting the operation of these establishments.

In addition, Brazilians are prevented from taking advantage of this attempt to return to the normality of casinos abroad due to restrictions imposed on international travel. The article by Dante Ferrasoli published in Folha de São Paulo last Wednesday, 24, presents this scenario, showing the losses suffered by the sector in the last year and the attempt to start the recovery process.

The report also recalls the recent flagrante delicto of player Gabigol and singer MC Gui in a casino in São Paulo, in addition to showing how Brazilians are able to have fun legally playing during sea cruises.

Casino tourism slowly resumes, but Brazilian is left out

As the pandemic shows signs of cooling and vaccination is advancing in some parts of the world, casinos, which are tourist attractions, will also have their operating rules relaxed, but there is still a long way to go.

Since March 15, Las Vegas homes can once again receive 50% of their total visitor capacity. The figure is the same as when they reopened in July, but with the increase in the pandemic, the limit increased to 25% in November, a percentage that has grown progressively since then.

Industry turnover in the state of Nevada, where Las Vegas is located, fell 25% between 2019 and 2020, from $ 24.5 billion to $ 18.3 billion, according to Nevada Gaming Control’s end-of-year report Board (organ that regulates casinos in the state).

In April 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, only 2.4% of hotel rooms were occupied in the state’s casinos, against 87.2% in the same month of 2019. Revenue continued to fall throughout the year. Another report from the agency, in January, pointed out that the figure was 26% lower in the month, compared to the same period in 2020, without a pandemic.

The document says, however, that the decline was only due to Las Vegas casinos, which earned 44% less in the period. Smaller houses, in cities like the Rhine and those surrounding Lake Tahoe, grew in the period.

The reason given in the document is that gamblers in the largest city in the state are mostly tourists, and those who play in the smaller houses are from the region. Las Vegas airport received 1.5 million passengers in January, 64% less than in the same period in 2020.

The USA does not accept flights from Brazil. If the tourist wants to enter the country, he / she needs to do a 14-day quarantine in a third territory first. Mexico is an option.

The largest casino hub in the world, Macau, China, relaxed the rules for visitors from the rest of the country on February 24. Since that date, Chinese from some regions no longer need to be quarantined upon arrival.

Because of the restrictions, the number of Chinese tourists was 77% lower in December 2020 than in the same month of 2019. The city, which has its economy based exactly on games of chance, still does not allow the entry of international tourists.

Closer to Brazil, in Uruguay, the Enjoy Punta del Este casino and hotel, formerly Conrad, reopened on December 11, being able to receive 50% of its maximum capacity and following the other sanitary protocols. Uruguay, however, adopts a strict policy for the entry of foreigners during the pandemic.

“At the moment, we only receive local tourists, as the borders remain closed and every foreigner needs to be quarantined. The high season was not like the previous ones, we reported a 30% lower turnover ”, says Ignacio Sarmiento, general manager.

Foreigners as a whole account for 95% of Enjoy Punta del Este’s guests in normal times; the leaders are the Brazilians who, alone, make up half of the project’s customers. “We believe that, from the second semester on, we can return to normality if the mass vaccination in the world is fast and consistent”, says Sarmiento.

Casinos are prohibited in Brazil. There are clandestine houses, which returned to the news recently when Gabigol, Flamengo striker, and funker MC Gui were caught in one of them, in the south of São Paulo, also disrespecting the quarantine.

Whoever lives here, therefore, needs to travel abroad if they want to play legally. There is a way to do this, however, without necessarily stepping into another country: within the cruises. Public relations professional Fernanda Ida Mazzucchelli, 63, takes advantage of her trips aboard ships to play. She says that, despite liking the machines, she appreciates the environment even more.

“It is so fun. An entertainment, a diversion, an excuse for everyone to be gathered there. Of course, it’s nice to win on the machines too. When that happens, it’s a party, ”he says.

Fernanda says that her biggest win was $ 400 from a $ 2 bet on its first trip. When she are not on a sea voyage, Fernanda does not miss the game and does not resort to online betting. He misses, however, the climate of the vessels, and has already bought a ticket for a crossing from Santos to Genoa, in Italy, scheduled for November, when the companies return to operate in Brazil.