Macau Casino Firms Donate $27 Million to Typhoon Relief

Monday, September 4th, 2017 | Written by April Bergman
Macau Casino Firms Donate $27 Million to Typhoon Relief

Macau resort owners have donated $27 million to Typhoon Hato relief efforts. The hurricane is the worst to hit Macau in the past 53 years, killing 10 and injuring at least 153 others.

The contributions came at a time when a second tropical storm, Typhoon Pakhar, was bearing down on the city. The influx of cash and other contributions helped a city which was woefully unprepared for Hato in the first place.

Beijing and Macau officials likely will probe the city’s response to the destructive hurricane, but for the time being, the resources come at a key time for the city’s residents. All six of the major casino operators donated resources: Galaxy Entertainment, Las Vegas Sands, Melco Resorts, MGM Resorts, SJM Holdings, and Wynn Resorts.

Steve Wynn’s Typhoo Relief Effort

Estimates still are unclear about the property damage done by Typhoon Hato. So far, government officials have put the damage at around $1 billion. Steve Wynn, who donated $3.75 million to the cleanup, praised the relief work being done by workers in the city.

The Las Vegas and Macau casino developer said, “In Macau, our employees’ homes have been damaged and their lives have been interrupted; many of them have suffered.”

Steve Wynn said volunteers have appeared with water and other supplies, while helping with cleanup efforts in damaged and waterlogged neighborhoods. Wynn Macau and Wynn Palace customers also faced disruption, said Steve Wynn, who donated an identical $3.75 million to relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in Texas (despite having no casino properties there).

Sheldon Adelson Pledges $8.05 Million

Sheldon Adelson, whose Venetian Macau is the highest-revenue casino in the city, donated $3.75 million from Las Vegas Sands and another $4.3 million from his family’s philanthropic organization, Adelson Family Foundation.

Melco Resorts Began Donations

The donations began with Lawrence Ho of Melco Resorts and Entertainment, which owns City of Dreams, Altira Casino, and Studio City. Two days after the disaster, Melco donated its own $3.75 million to Typhoon Hato relief.

Lawrence Ho said at the time his company would give “cash relief fund to support employees, the community and the restoration efforts.”

MGM China, the subdivision of MGM Resorts International which owns MGM Macau, matched the effort one day later.

Galaxy Entertainment’s Contribution

After that, Galaxy Entertainment, the largest Chinese operator in the city, doubled Melco’s $3.75 million in relief funds. Half of the money came from Galaxy itself, while the other half came from Chairman Lui Che Woo’s family’s foundation.

Lui Che Woo said in a press release, “[Our donations are] to support the relief efforts of the people of Macau as well as company employees during this challenging and stressful period.”

SJM Provides Free Medical Treatments

SJM Holdings, which owns the Grand Lisboa Casino Hotel and a variety of smaller resorts in Macau, said it is providing free medical care at a local hospital for those impacted by the typhoon.

Casino License Renewal Process

The fact the various operators pledged the same amount of cash to relief work might cause skepticism on the part of readers. From 2020 to 2022, all six of the major casino operators in Macau have their gaming licenses up for review. Having a record of helping during a time of need cannot hurt their chances of having their casino licenses renewed, though most gaming analysts believe the license review process should be a formality. Each has invested billions in the Macau economy.

Typhoon Pakhar Arrives

Whatever the motives, the six casino firms have done tremendous good in the wake of Typhoon Hato. The relief efforts came at a time when a second tropical storm, Typhoon Pakhar, hit the southern Chinese coastline near Hong Kong and Macau. Pakhar was designated a Category 8 tropical storm, the third-largest designation used by the Chinese weather bureaus.