Wealthy entrepreneurs and private equity players are flocking to a tiny territory off the southern coast of China, and it’s not because they’re looking for tax breaks.
Macao, a former Portugese colony, last year overtook the Las Vegas Strip as the world’s biggest gaming centre by revenues, and investors are looking to get in on the action.
Virgin entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson is in advanced talks to secure land in the Chinese special administrative region, where he intends to build a $3bn casino resort complex.
Meanwhile, a group of private equity investors has paid about US$390m for convertible preferred shares in a Macau hotel and casino firm in yet another sign of growing global interest in the Chinese gambling enclave, Reuters said. The preferred shares, mostly secondary, represent 45 per cent of the share capital of Macao Legend Development, according to a statement released by Merrill Lynch, which acted as the placement agent in the deal, one of the biggest private equity offerings from Macao. No further details about the deal and the identity of the private equity investors were available.
Macao is the only place in China where Togel Hongkong casinos are legal. Last year gaming revenues in the territory rose 23 per cent to $7bn, and further growth is expected. Baccarat – 007’s favourite card game – is the territory’s most popular diversion.
China Launches Crackdown on Internet Gambling
China has launched a three-month crackdown on Internet gambling aimed at ‘purifying the cyber environment’ according to a number of governmental departments.
A joint statement from the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Information Industry and the State Press and Publication Administration accused online gambling of ruining the online environment, prompting the strict supervisions now being put on the Internet.
Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong and Zhejiang were highlighted as key areas to be supervised, the statement said, and warned that local government departments should strictly supervise online game service providers who are not allowed to exchange ‘virtual money’ with real currencies or properties.
Gambling was originally outlawed on the Chinese mainland nearly 60 years ago when New China was founded. But gambling is legal in Macau casino district, although online gambling is still prohibited in the territory.
A full-scale review of the region’s gaming laws is expected to begin next month by the Macau Gaming Commission.
It was onMarch 1, 2006 when China implemented new Internet regulations in an attempt to limit pornography, spam, viruses, gambling fraud and other undesirable activities. The law bans citizens younger than 18 from Internet cafes, discos and karaoke bars, and prohibits government staff from running entertainment venues.
Now the government is extending its rules on Internet gambling.