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UPDATE 3-Macau's MGM Cotai casino locked down with guests, staff after COVID case

(Updates with government confirmation)

HONG KONG, Oct 30 (Reuters) -

MGM China's Cotai casino in Macau was locked down on Sunday after a dealer tested positive for COVID-19, city authorities in the world's biggest gambling hub said, ordering everyone inside to stay put until Nov 1.

MGM did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The closure deals a blow to casino operators who have already been grappling with COVID restrictions for more than two and a half years.

"Casinos, hotel staff and hotel guests will be quarantined in place immediately," the city government said in a statement, adding that all stores and restaurants attached to the hotel resort would also remain shut.

Government health workers were at the MGM Cotai site with noone allowed to enter or exit the building, industry publication Inside Asian Gaming said.

The publication said it was not able to immediately verify how many people were inside.

The closure comes after Macau detected its third coronavirus case this month, after having no cases for more than three months. The infections come just ahead of a planned resumption of inbound tours from mainland China visitors in November after a hiatus of more than two and a half years.

All of Macau's 700,000 residents must take a rapid antigen test for COVID daily from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1, Macau's government said in a statement that made no mention of the MGM closure.

Macau's casinos have been losing millions of dollars monthly due to coronavirus restrictions as the special administrative region follows China's 'dynamic zero COVID' policy, which aims to curb all outbreaks.

Macau's six casino operators - Sands China, Wynn Macau, Galaxy Entertainment, MGM China, Melco Resorts and SJM Holdings - are currently awaiting a government decision on whether they will be granted new licenses.

Macau executives said the decision could come as early as this week. (Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by William Mallard and Kenneth Maxwell)