Even though the casino industry in Macau lost more than $100 billion due to the corruption crackdown in 2014.
China’s government is determined to be relentless in its stance against corruption and recently announced that it would lunch another anti-corruption campaign that would specifically target foreign casinos that are targeting Chinese nationals.
The corruption crackdown has scared away VIP Chinese gamblers who used to frequently visit Macau and place heavy bets. Foreign companies have targeted these VIP gamblers and tried to get them to travel to neighbouring countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and the Philippines which have more relaxed regulations.
The Ministry of Public Security announced that these foreign enterprises will be investigated and stopped immediately. In a statement, Hua Jingfeng, deputy bureau chief at the Ministry of Public Security said
Some foreign countries see our nation as an enormous market, and we have investigated a series of cases. A fair number of neighbouring countries have casinos, and they have set up offices in China to attract and drum up interest from Chinese citizens to go abroad and gamble. This will also be an area that we will crack down on.
The Chinese government also confirmed that it will continue its anti-corruption campaign called ‘Operation Foxhunt’ which commenced in June 2014 and said the campaign will focus on investigating and removing corrupt Communists Party officials. A number of these officials have been accused of being partial to foreign enterprises in granting them licenses or being lenient with their applications in exchange for financial favours.
The Chinese government has stated that they will investigate corrupt government and police officials and will hunt them down even if they have fled the country. This tough stance by the Chinese government will continue to send shockwaves through Macau’s casino industry and casino’s like MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, SJM Holdings, Melco Crown and Galaxy Entertainment will have to re-think their long term strategy in Macau.
Gambling is prohibited in Mainland China but a number of ad agencies have tried to beat the system by advertising the resorts as places of relaxation and entertainment. The Ministry of Public Security confirmed that these advertising campaigns will soon be stopped and agencies promoting these resorts will also face legal action. This public announcement by the Chinese government will certainly discourage these advertising campaigns and once again impact Macau’s casino industry negatively.