Chinas Vegas of the East Threatening US Casino Moguls
David Beckham recently became the public face of Macau’s flagship resort, The Venetian. The Venetian belongs to US billionaire and Republican party backer Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corporation.
Macau’s foundation puts Las Vegas to shame. It is built a massive gambling industry its casinos turned in revenue of $44 bn in 2014 alone.
Not all of Macau’s business is show business. Experts describe the Macau casino scene as a hotbed of money laundering, Mafia activity, triad hosting and a pure unadulterated outlet for corrupt Chinese government members to spend their ill-gotten wealth.
The Chinese government now, however, is coming down hard on corrupt members of society and money laundering practises all throughout Macau resulting in a dried up stream of income from high rolling players.
Why China’s Macau needs to be paid attention to
If Macau’s gaming and entertainment industry is to survive the Chinese government crackdown, it must evolve and change. Reform is needed as soon as possible. Junkets or luxury gambling trips as well as fears of triad presence are felt and remain in Macau.
While’s Hong Kong’s forte is banking, Macau’s forte is gambling. Macau came into popularity due to the legal casinos left behind by its colonial masters, the Portuguese. Stanley Ho, the billionaire, owned the monopoly of casinos in the city but had to break the monopoly in 2002 when authorities opened up concessions to Chinese tycoons and a few foreign bidders who seized the opportunity.
The foreign bidders were mainly American and the first was Adelson in 2004. He became a multi-billionaire who was later famous for his comments on US and Israeli politics.
To pull the right high rollers through the doors, Macau used to be where the money was. Macau’s gambling industry pulled in more than seven times what the Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas Sands and MGM brought in.
Macau’s golden era might be at its end but this when the public will get to see what it looked like through the eyes of the rich and famous.