Recently christened “gambling capital of the world” expected to be subjected to growth-slowing regulations in coming years.
Macau is now the world’s foremost leader in casino earnings, blowing Las Vegas out of the water with $45 billion in revenue last year. Growth has exploded since the Macau gambling laws were revised a decade ago, allowing foreign investors such as Las Vegas Sands Corp. and Wynn Resorts Ltd. to enter what had been a closed market.
The city has filled gambling news in recent years, with the “Cotai Strip” regularly referred to as “Asia’s Vegas Strip.” But Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen recently led casino operators to curb their enthusiasm when he announced that the government was considering a cap on the number of electronic gaming machines that can be in operation in the country.
Putting the brakes on an overheating market
Much of Macau’s burgeoning gambling growth has come on the back of electronic table games, some of which can serve up to 50 gamblers simultaneously. Despite the misgivings of casino operators, the local government has voiced a desire to keep such games, including electronic slot games, out of residential areas.
In addition, Tam mentioned a long-term plan to close all of the city’s slots-only facilities, thus confining the game to Macau’s nearly three-dozen casinos. While it may now be the gambling capital of the world, operators, investors, and gamblers can expect growth to slow to more grounded levels in the future.