Resorts World Genting to Close Until February 4 in New Malaysian COVID-19 Lockdown

  • Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced a Movement Control Order on Monday
  • RWG will close from January 22 to February 4, but some essential services will remain operational
  • The new lockdown orders are the result of a rising number of coronavirus cases in Malaysia
  • Genting’s UK casinos are facing difficulties because of COVID-19 lockdowns since March
Resorts World Genting
Resorts World Genting will shut down until February 4 in accordance with a government-mandated COVID-19 order for six Malaysian states. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Two weeks of closures

Malaysian casino Resorts World Genting (RWG) has announced it will shut down from January 22 to February 4, 2021. The announcement comes after the Malaysian government reinstated an emergency order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

described the country’s healthcare system as “at breaking point”

Last Monday, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin described the country’s healthcare system as “at breaking point” because of an increase in coronavirus infections. As a result, he reinstated a Movement Control Order (MCO) in six states, including Pahang, the home of Genting Malaysia Berhad-owned casino resort RWG.

According to a company statement published Thursday, the casino will close “in line” with the MCO. Some essential services such as security, the fire and rescue department, utilities, and clinics will remain operational. For guests with reservations during the closure period, the company offered a date change or refund.

Genting Malaysia Berhad shares dropped by 0.83% on Bursa Malaysia, the country’s stock exchange, after the announcement to RM2.38 ($0.59). 

Lockdown orders reach Pahang

As the only legal casino in Malaysia, RWG holds a monopoly over the country’s casino gambling market. Although forced to close briefly in March, the casino has avoided much disruption from the pandemic recently, with government-ordered lockdowns affecting other areas of the country.

A recent spike in Malaysia’s coronavirus cases, however, resulted in the lockdown orders in RWG’s home state of Pahang. The Prime Minister’s MCO requires the closure of non-essential businesses for the next two weeks, including casinos. The order also prohibits interstate travel.

Although infections within the actual casino property have remained low, RWG announced earlier this month that some of its canteen workers tested positive for the virus. The operator reported the infections to the Ministry of Health. Before this, a member of RWG’s security department caught coronavirus in November 2020.

Explaining the lockdown orders on Thursday, Senior Defense Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government made the decision because “the 14 days observation by the Ministry of Health from Jan 7 to 20 showed positive COVID-19 infections continue to soar within the local community.”

Genting’s UK troubles

Casinos owned and operated by Genting’s UK business unit have faced intermittent periods of closures since coronavirus lockdowns began in March. As a result, Genting UK has taken a number of cost-cutting measures to mitigate financial losses.

1,624 of its employees would lose their jobs as a result of the closures

Last year, Genting Group permanently closed three of its UK casinos in Torquay, Bristol, and Margate. The operator said 1,624 of its employees would lose their jobs because of the closures. Genting also made significant staff reductions in Birmingham, Blackpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and London.

Last week, Genting also announced the permanent closure of the Genting Casino in Southport. The operator said 38 staff members faced layoffs as a result. Genting described the decision as “simply unavoidable.”

In its most recent trading update, Genting Malaysia Berhad reported a 46% decline in revenue year-on-year for Q3 2020 to RM1.42bn ($349.1m). The operator blamed government restrictions across the world for the drop in revenue.