Macau Police Director Says Gaming-Related Crimes Up 21 Percent In 2015
Law Enforcement Being Beefed Up In The Former Portuguese Colony
Gambling-related crimes in Macau, the only place in China where casinos are legal, are still on the rise.
According to Macau Business Daily, Judiciary Police (PJ) Director Chau Wai Kuong said this week that crimes that took place in Macau casinos were up 21 percent in 2015, going from 3,023 cases in 2014 to 3,658 cases last year. The years 2013 and 2012 had 2,599 and 2,070, respectively. There were 366 cases of illegal detainment related to gambling, up from 301 in 2014. Loan sharking cases increased by more than 50 percent, totaling 318 in 2015, up from 208 in 2014. This doesn’t mean that Macau is dangerous compared to the past, though.
According to the report, police attribute the increase in crime to “the adjustment period of the gaming industry,” in addition to more law enforcement attention on the casino industry. Pressure has come from mainland China to crack down on corruption in Macau.
Macau welcomed more than 30 million visitors in 2015. However, the city’s gaming revenue fell 34 percent year-over-year to $29 billion in 2015. It was the second straight year of less gaming revenue than the year before. Macau had a record $45.2 billion in gaming revenue in 2013.
Roughly two thirds of the city’s economic activity is from casino gambling.
Late last year, Macau hired a new chief gambling regulator. China’s increased interest in Macau centers on the lucrative junket industry, which is responsible for high rollers getting the funds they want to gamble with. Beijing wants Macau to rely less on VIP customers and casinos there to expand their non-gaming attractions in order to cater to mass market customers.
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