What we’ve learnt about casinos this week

Mano con fiche casinWe love the world of casinos and casino games, so it’s fascinating to watch how different geographies around the world are evolving and changing as economic ups and downs and regulatory interventions shape the world in which we live in.

In this article we take a look at some of the news stories from around the world that have caught our eye.

Luck is running out in Macau

Macau has been the shining light of the world’s casino destinations for many years, with huge construction projects seeing the growth of enormous casino resorts to cater for the booming gaming tourism market from China. However, economic uncertainty and an anti-corruption drive by China is impacting the volume of casino tourism flowing from the mainland to Macau.

One of the features of the casino landscape in Macau is the role that the junkets play. The junkets are effectively money men – making cash available to the incoming gamblers who are restricted on the amount of currency that they are able to travel with. There’s been a couple of thefts involving junkets which has made cash for gambling more expensive and harder to obtain, but now we have seen an announcement from the Neptune Group (one of the biggest junkets operating in Macau) that it is considering exiting the market if the volume of gamblers coming to Macau continues to fall. Uncertainty surrounding the role of the junkets is having a knock-on impact on the shares of Macau’s casinos – big names such as Wynn Macau, Galaxy Entertainment, Sands China, and SJM Holdings have all seen their share value dropping by 5-7 per cent, a five-year low for most operators. It’s easy to see why investors in Macau’s casinos are feeling a bit spooked – inbound gambling tourism from China accounts for around 70 per cent of gaming revenues in Macau.

Casino robberies are not always glamorous

While movies such as Ocean’s Eleven can give the impression that robbing casinos needs to be done with a bit of style, some ingenuity, and a lot of humour, the reality suggests that casino robberies are brutal crimes that rarely end well. A recent robbery in the west of England in the United Kingdom saw two masked robbers storm into a casino armed with machetes – violently threatening staff before grabbing as much cash as possible. They escaped in a car driven by a third accomplice. English police managed to use CCTV to track down the three robbers and they have recently been jailed for a total of twenty six years. Police investigations revealed that this was third attack by this gang within nine days, although this was the first casino that they had robbed.

Indigenous tribes in the United States have a keen interest in casinos

The Mashpee Wampanoag tribe is seeking to establish a tribal casino in south-eastern Massachusetts, however there are a number of other operators also vying for the sought after casino licences in the region. The advantage that the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe have over other potential bidders for the licence is that granting them a casino licence will create an economic development opportunity for a marginalised group – a key goal of the state’s consideration process.

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