Macau government remains unfazed by a series of crackdowns that Chinese authorities launched against junket operators in mainland China, saying the incident in Crown Casino Resorts will not have any impact on its casino industry.
Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac made this assurance on Thursday as he tries to calm spooked casino operators, who fear that Chinese authorities will target their operations next.
He pointed out that arrest and detention of 18 Crown staffers, including its head of international VIP business Jason O’Connor, should not have any direct bearing on gaming firms operating in Macau.
“There is no direct connection between the incident and local gaming operators,” Leong told Macau DTM, adding that Chinese authorities remain committed to keeping the gaming industry healthy.
Leong, however, warned that a Special Administrative Region government will closely follow the case.
“The gaming watchdog has demanded a meeting with the six gaming concessionaires,” he revealed. “Many times have we reminded them that any commercial activity or behaviour has to be carried out strictly in line with local laws, in Macau or elsewhere.”
Chinese authorities rounded up 18 of Crown’s staffers on October 14, in what experts say was part of Chinese operation targeting gambling related activities.
A year prior to the arrests, Chinese authorities warned casino operators to stop recruiting high rollers from the mainland to gamble overseas.
Despite the warning, Chinese authorities observed Crown’s senior executives make short business trips to China instead of spending long periods in the country. There was also an alleged attempt on the part of Crown to circumvent the Chinese rules by simply packaging the tour activities as resort instead of casinos.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, meanwhile, assured that the two Australian executives of Crown Resorts are in good health after Chinese authorities rounded them up and detained in jail over the weekend.
The Crown staffers, however, have yet to be charged in court since their arrests.