Oriental Daily News - SVA Comments on Macau Gaming
FINANCE MACAU'S GAMBLING REVENUE FELL 20% LAST MONTH, EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TO SLUMP
The Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau announced yesterday that the gaming revenue in January this year was 6.344 billion patacas, down 20.9% year-on-year. Although it was better than market expectations, it fell by 31%, but it was still 75% lower than the pre-epidemic level in 2019, mainly due to epidemic prevention.
The slump in tourists and the regulator's crackdown on junket operators, commonly known as junket operators, have affected them. Analysts expect casino VIP revenue to drop 43% this year, while overall gaming revenue is expected to rise 59% from a year earlier. Macau's gaming industry is likely to remain sluggish in February as the mainland tightens border restrictions and hotel bookings in Macau are weak. Bidding for new gambling licenses may be detrimental to foreign investment.
In fact, in recent months, the Macau authorities have successively arrested the owners and management of a number of gaming junket companies on the grounds that they are involved in overseas online gambling, which will inevitably have an impact on the gaming industry. The analysis pointed out that from the joint arrest operation of China and Cambodia in 2019, to the amendment of the law in the Mainland in 2020, "to solicit citizens to gamble abroad" is a criminal offence.
In addition, the above-mentioned Macau Junket Operator incident shows that the Mainland is committed to blocking capital outflow. Vulnerability. Because of this, it is estimated that the bidding conditions for new Macau casino licenses in the future will take into account the applicant's ability to fight money laundering and prevent capital outflows from the mainland, or it may be unfavorable to foreign capital. Looking back at the pre-pandemic period, the gaming industry was extremely prosperous in many countries in Southeast Asia.
With the advantages of low wages, low land prices, and low gambling tax rates (as low as 4 to 5% in some countries, much lower than 35% in Macau) Foreign investment (including Chinese capital) builds casinos, hotels and other tourist facilities in the local area, attracting tourists from all over the world, especially China, to gamble, which has led to the rise of online gambling. Due to the large number of local and transnational problems arising from online gambling and fraud, in August 2019, Cambodia characterized online gambling as endangering national security, believing that it may become a money laundering destination, such as continuing to open online gambling, powerful large enterprises will not invest in Cambodia.
In the past, China and Cambodia cooperated in law enforcement for many times, arresting more than 1,000 illegal persons in Cambodia, deporting them to the mainland, and claiming to completely eliminate illegal online gambling gangs in Cambodia. Mainland committed to cracking down on cross-border gambling.
Later, in 2020, the mainland passed amendments to the criminal law, including amending the regulations on gambling crimes and increasing penalties. It is reported that the reason for the serious cross-border gambling crimes in recent years has resulted in the outflow of a large amount of funds. Since November last year, Zhou Zhuohua, the former helmsman of Macau Suncity Group (01383), and Chen Ronglian, the former chairman of Macau Legend (01680), have been arrested.
Recently, the Macau Legislative Council is scheduled to review the draft amendment to the "Gaming Law". Among them, there are a number of "spicier" suggestions for the control of junket operators, including not sharing with gaming companies, only charging commissions, and a jigger operator. The company can only serve one gaming company, etc. In January this year, the number of jigger companies that have been licensed has dropped by 46.5% year-on-year to 46. At present, people from all walks of life are very concerned about the news of the renewal of gambling licenses.
Risk assessment agency Steve Vickers and Associates believes that the bidding for new gambling licenses is not unrelated to politics. It is necessary to pay attention to the policy of preventing capital outflow in the mainland, and the absorption of capital from mainland gamblers over the past few years. It seems contrary to the US-funded gaming companies that pay dividends back to their parent companies.
(Original – Chinese version)
現時各界甚為關注續賭牌消息，風險評估機構Steve Vickers and Associates認為，新賭牌的競投與政治不無關係，要留意內地防止資本外流的政策，與過去多年來吸納內地賭客資本並以派股息形式回流到母企的美資博企來說，似乎相違背。