An odd thing has been happening in the last few months. Since the Chinese government began to crackdown on ‘junkets’ and ‘corruption’, Macau — the hub for Chinese billionaires to smuggle their money out of China — has seen revenues disappointing. So much in fact that, as Reuters reports, gambling revenue in Macau fell 3.7% in June on an annual basis, the first decline in more than four years. It could be coincidence, however, that as Macau has seen growth collapse, Las Vegas has seen Baccarat (the preferred game of China’s rich) surge. In May, as Macau growth slumped, Las Vegas Baccarat surged over 85%. While slots (the staple indicator of the 99% in America) continues to decline (-4.4% in May), it seems rich foreigners are finding creative new ways to wash their money out of China.
Macau had been the money-laundering center for Chinese elite (as we noted here)
“You don’t actually buy anything,” said Lai, standing near a half-empty display case containing a messy spread of watches and jewellery. “We just help people get money out of China so they can gamble more.”
But as Reuters reports,