Despite China’s intensifying corruption crackdown on Asia’s gambling capital of the world, not all hope is lost for the Macau gambling industry – especially for online players.
In 1999, Macau returned to Beijing’s control after 442 years of Portugese rules. Its status as a Special Administrative Region allows it to remain as the only place in China where casinos are legal. Otherwise, only Welfare Lottery and Sports Lottery are considered gambling in China legal.
Macau’s flourishing economy has relied heavily on apparel exports and gambling-related tourism as its backbone for years. However, the city’s long-standing status as Macau gambling capital of the world fell off the grid earlier this year. The increasingly intensified anti-corruption efforts by the Chinese government under China gambling crackdown has led the economy to tumble at an alarming rate.
According to Financial Review, CLSA’s Fischer estimates the anti-corruption campaign has wiped USD10 billion from Macau’s economy based on Macau government gambling revenue alone. The city is currently faced with foreseeable worrying times ahead as its wealth continues to be threatened by the crackdown.
Casino operators are taking efforts to revive Macau gambling industry
As the saying goes: It never rains but it pours.
Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year that the problem in Macau gambling industrystarted with highrollers. Major gamblers were scared off by the government’s corruption crackdown which led to a dip in VIP gambling in Macau. The junket system bringing highrollers to Macau gambling casinos also crippled under the weight of aggressive lending.
As if the dent in Macau’s economy caused by tumbling gambling revenue without its VIP gamblers was not bad enough, the crackdown has also led to a chain reaction of a dip in mass-market tourists gambling in Macau.
While VIP gambling came to a halt without a functioning junket system, mass-market gambling tourists is affected by a new range of policies. These policies include visa restrictions for mainland Chinese visitors, increased oversight of UnionPay debit cards used to access funds in Macau and new smoking restrictions at casinos.
Nonetheless, Macau’s leader, Fernando Chui, is still fairly optimistic that the economy will eventually recover as major casino operators such as MGM, Las Vegas Sands Corp., Wynn Resorts Ltd.,SJM Holdings Ltd. and Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. are planning to open massive projects in the coming years despite dark clouds that are currently hovering over Macau gambling industry.
China gambling crackdown brings bleak moments to operators but not online players
While internet gambling continues to flourish in other parts of the world, online gambling in Macau remains to be in question. To date, there are still no online casinos in Macau as it does not license online gaming operations due to China gaming ban.
Macau’s official gambling regulatory agency, The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), has issued a public advisory earlier this year stating that all forms of online gambling are considered illegal under Macau gambling laws.
However, this restriction is only applicable to internet gambling sites in Macau.
Apart from legal online betting at their domestic options Macau-Slot and MJC for sports betting and horse racing respectively, online players from Macau can still access internet gambling sites outside of Macau.
Visit our selection of the best online casinos offering online gambling to players in Macau in our online casino reviews section!