Inside Asian Gaming CEO Andrew W Scott says the introduction of new laws aimed at further restricting the promotion of gambling in mainland China “could be a long term plus for Macau if it stops mainland Chinese spending money elsewhere.”
His comments were made during a presentation to the British Chamber of Commerce in Macau on Wednesday, where Scott tackled “The 10 biggest questions facing the Macau gaming industry.”
As reported by Inside Asian Gaming earlier this week, the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress is to review a proposed amendement to China’s criminal law that would create a new crime centered around organizing and soliciting by foreign casinos. The amendment would specifically target operations looking to lure Chinese gamblers overseas.
“I totally understand why they would do it,” Scott said. “They’re trying to curb the capital flow going out, just as any other country would do.”
The Chinese government “doesn’t want people to gamble,” he added, “but if they are going to gamble anyway, China at least wants them gambling in Macau where they can keep a closer eye on them. That way the money also stays within China.”
Bernstein analysts Vitaly Umansky, Tianjiao Yu and Kelsey Zhu offered a similar sentiment in a Wednesday note, stating, “When the Chinese government discusses overseas casinos and gambling, this does not refer to Macau casinos. Macau is never discussed in terms of ‘overseas’ or ‘foreign’ as Macau is part of The People’s Republic of China and Macau has a legal casino market that supports much of the city’s economy and provides much of the government’s revenue.”
While such news typically creates near term headwinds for Macau, “in the longer run, we see China’s actions of trying to stamp out illegal online gambling (which has become a severe problem in China) and making it more difficult to gamble overseas as benefit to Macau as it is viewed as a safe place to go for gaming activity within China.”
Scott’s presentation to the British Chamber of Commerce also discussed potential candidates for a seventh Macau casino license, online gambling prospects for Macau and how US-China relations could impact the economy.