Upcoming negotiations over the future of Macau’s six casino concessionaires and the special administrative region’s links to organized crime may have negative impact on a promising year for the city, risk mitigation expert and business consultant Steve Vickers said earlier this week.
Mr. Vickers is CEO of Steve Vickers Associates, a company specializing in risk assessment and mitigation, corporate intelligence, security, and consulting services. The consultancy recently produced the 2018 Asia Risk Assessment report, in which it included its vision on what the year could possibly have in store for Macau.
During a recent event of the British Business Association of Macau, Mr. Vickers presented some of his company’s views on the future of the city’s casino industry. According to Steve Vickers Associates, the expected beginning of negotiations over Macau’s six casino concessions and sub-concessions and their expiration between 2020 and 2022 could create certain difficulties for the special administrative region, which is the only place in China where casino gambling is legal.
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In 2017, Macau posted its first casino revenue increase in three years, following an anti-corruption campaign initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping and the city’s efforts to revive its gambling industry from the impact. The city’s six licensed casino operators generated revenue of $33.13 billion last year, up 19% from 2016.
However, Mr. Vickers believes that Macau’s tight links to China’s organized crime could also have some negative effects on the city’s casino industry and economy, as a whole.
Macau’s Casino Industry and the Triads
Steve Vickers Associates’ report points out that despite efforts made by Macau lawmakers, the city’s legislation still has many gaps to close in order to make it harder for triad members to intervene in its gaming industry and other aspects of its economy, politics, and the everyday lives of residents and visitors.
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Mr. Vickers said during the British Business Association of Macau event that triad members are probably the only people who could still “enforce a gambling debt in Mainland China” effectively. The risk management experts further dwelt that even though the triads have institutionalized themselves, they are still moving freely among people who have nothing to do with organized crime.
According to Mr. Vickers, more actions need to be undertaken so that triad members are prevented from engaging in different illegal activities, including ones related to gambling.
The expert and his consultancy firm also seem to believe that Macau is particularly vulnerable to terrorist attacks, despite efforts for improving the city’s readiness to respond to incidents of this type. Mr. Vickers pointed out that the constant release of key statistics about the city’s gambling industry and economy, as a whole, are among the factors that make it vulnerable to terrorist groups from around the world.