Monday 9. May, 2016

Macau Bans Proxy Betting at Casinos from May 9

As of today, May 9, Macau casinos will officially ban proxy betting in their VIP rooms. While some believe this will put additional pressure on the VIP gambling market which has been struggling in the past few years, the government insists it will not harm the casino sector.

In the past, VIP players have been able to use their telephones while gambling, if they had registered beforehand. This would allow a gambler to make a bet on a live game without actually being present through a representative who would take the bet by telephone. Even at casinos where proxy betting was not permitted, VIP players were able to use their mobile phones at the table and this resulted in unofficial proxy betting occurring.

On Saturday, the Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac said that the ban on using phones at gaming tables is “to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings and to eliminate illegal actions.”

Many investment analysts for the gaming sector believe that these measures will have minimal impact on the earnings taken by Macau casinos. Mr Leong also insists that the ban “will not hurt the sustainable development of the gaming sector.”

This last week, Crown Resorts cashed in part of its stake in its Macau gambling interest, Melco Crown Entertainment. Reducing its stake from 34 percent to 27 percent will allow James Packer to use this money to reduce the company’s debt. While Packer insists that Crown remains committed to its Macau interests, two years of consistently declining revenue cannot be ignored.

The move will also allow Packer and Crown Resorts to focus more on its local business, particularly its Barangaroo project in Sydney. Packer has stated that the Sydney project is his personal focus and his priority among all of Crown’s developments.

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