In the not-so-distant past, Macau, the only place in China where gambling is legal, relied on its reputation as the gambling capital of the world, to keep its population of approximately 566,000 people employed, and during boom times, distribute pay-outs to its residents. This is slowly changing as the Chinese government continues its crackdown on corruption.
The Shanghai Daily notes that President Xi Jinping’s zealous crackdown has reduced the opportunities for mainland Chinese to lavishly splash their cash in casinos throughout the peninsula. In 2014, revenue from Macau’s 35 casinos decreased 2.6 percent, still about seven times Las Vegas casinos’ revenue, but nonetheless the eighth consecutive monthly decrease.
What’s the most recent the proposed solution?
Primarily, more of the same with some difference, by way of Melco Crown Entertainment’s Studio City project, a gambling, retail, and entertainment resort with a Batman virtual reality ride. This is all in the context of an industry-wide decline as Jamie Soo, a Daiwa Securities Co. analyst explains, “The rate and scale of junket closures beginning in the fourth quarter of last year was faster than we were expecting. More are likely to close this year.”
Given that Koi Kei’s pastries, the most famous of which are almond cookies, have become the most “popular food souvenir” in Macau, accounting for 71% of the current market, they could be the peninsula’s saving grace.
[Image via Travelista.com]