Macau gamblers continue to set world records despite encountering problems such as government efforts to curb money laundering and other nefarious activities; a recent banking scare and a perceived slowdown in the Chinese economy.
Added to the concerns is the weekend announcement that a Chinese government agency, responsible for setting anti-money laundering guidelines, is considering a system requiring travelers to declare the cash they carry across the border.
These travelers are the people who have made it possible for a trio of U.S. companies to stuff their cash registers with huge profits. Without those revenues, results for Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN), Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS) and MGM Resorts International (MGM) would be challenging indeed.
Currently, there are no requirements for travelers from China to declare their cash holdings, although the government sets a limit of 20,000 yuan, equal to $3,260, for anyone crossing the border. Macau is the gamblers destination since it is the only place where Chinese people can gamble legally.
High rollers, those who have flooded the casinos’ VIP rooms, are provided loans by junket operators, thus permitting them to get around the money restrictions.
Junket operators are now being investigated by U.S. officials who fear they are responsible for much of the money laundering activity in Macau.
Ray Poirier is the longtime executive editor at GamingToday.
Contact Ray at [email protected].