Macau junkets are finally on a roll, but will it last?
by Muhammad Cohen
After haemorrhaging money and prestige since early 2014, Macau’s junket promoters’ luck appears to have turned. This month’s re-emergence of junket executive Huang Shan, who allegedly embezzled US$1.3billion, and the detention in mainland China of 18 Crown Resorts employees suspected of illegally promoting gambling should benefit Macau’s junkets and VIP sector that still accounts for roughly half of the global casino capital’s gaming revenue.
Proxy Betting Banned in Macau Now On The Rise In Southeast Asia
by Muhammad Cohen
Itching to play baccarat but don’t want to draw attention to yourself in the midst of a corruption crackdown by visiting a casino or break local law by gambling online? Don’t worry, you can still get a casino gaming fix, live before your very eyes, completely under your control and totally legally, at least until authorities decide otherwise. It’s called proxy better and it’s an increasingly popular way for mainland China players to get action amid continued scrutiny of high rollers in Macau. The phenomenon poses new challenges to financial watchdogs hoping to stop money laundering and new opportunities for casino operators and junket promoters to engage their customers and expand their profits. Global Market Advisors estimates Macau’s proxy betting volume grew 15% last year, while overall VIP revenue fell 40%. Morgan Stanley estimates 8-10% of Macau’s VIP revenue came from proxy betting – before the government banned it in May.
Steve Wynn became a billionaire largely by defying conventional wisdom. People said Downtown Las Vegas was dead, yet he bought the Golden Nugget and made it a first class casino hotel. They said people wouldn’t pay top dollar for the Strip, yet he built Mirage, Treasure Island and Bellagio – transforming Las Vegas into a luxury destination. Now, in Cotai, Mr. Wynn has made a US$4.2 billion bet that he understands what diversification means better than the government does.
Proxy betting is booming throughout Southeast Asia. In early 2016, industry analysts estimated that proxy betting’s contribution to overall Macau VIP betting volume had grown about 15 percent in 2015 from the prior year.