China Begins Clean Up Of Macau Casino Industry

China Begins Clean Up Of Macau Casino IndustryThe Chinese government appears to be stepping up its plan to better control Macau’s surging casino industry by targeting its junket operators, who offer lines of credit to high-rollers.
Over the last few weeks alone, three of the gambling enclave’s biggest junket operators have had workers detained by Chinese authorities, and as Mr Hoffman from Macau casino ‘Ponte 16’ explains, the recent arrests “are an attempt by the Chinese government to tell people in the market that they need to behave, especially regarding underground money transfers.”
In China, people are not permitted to transfer more than US$50,000 annually out of the country, prompting some high-roller to turn to junket operators to circumvent the Chinese laws. In addition, International authorities have expressed concerns that Macau’s casinos were being used by wealthy Chinese to launder and illegally transfer money out of China.
Over a 12 month period through to September, for instance, it has been estimated that US$225 billion left China. Outward shows of great ostentation and wealth have also become of concern for the Chinese government with China’s former Communist Party leader Mr Hu Jintao, recently warning that widespread corruption is so serious in China¬† that it could “cause the collapse of the party and the fall of the state.”
The current clampdown on junket operators and tightening of its money laundering rules already shows signs of reducing the gambling spend of its high-roller clients, with their revenue falling off by 1.1% in Q3. Back in 2008, the Chinese government also came down heavy on casinos¬† by restricting visas for its citizens traveling to Macau. As Macau casino official Mr Ma, explains: “Visa restrictions years ago showed the power of the Chinese government to control Macau’s gambling revenue if they want to.

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