|By Marketwire .||
|September 11, 2012 11:32 AM EDT||
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwire) -- 09/11/12 -- Police raided hotels and casinos in Macau over the weekend of 4th August, arresting 150 people, announce Gaming Club. 1,300 people were questioned in raids carried out by Hong Kong and Chinese police in a crackdown on a recent wave of violence that has rocked the world's biggest gambling district.
Bricks and mortar casinos have historically been linked to underworld crime, most notably Las Vegas' links with the mafia during the founding years of the US gambling haven. However, the boom in online casinos has provided a safer alternative for casino gamblers in recent years, with growing numbers turning to the internet and playing on-the-move with apps like the Gaming Club Mobile Casino, for a more secure and convenient gaming experience.
Since being handed back to China in 2009, Macau has seen sustained growth in its tourism and gambling industry, with some of the biggest casinos in the world opening their doors along the Macau Peninsula and Cotai Strip from 2004. Resorts like the Sands Macau, Wynn Macau and The Venetian Macau contribute to the billion dollar annual gaming revenues that currently make up more than 50 per cent of the region's GDP.(1)
Now the biggest gambling market in the world, surpassing Las Vegas revenues in 2006(2), Macau generated record high revenues of AUS$22.9 billion in 2010.(3) This year, from January through May, the region has already generated AUS$15 billion.(4) While the revenue is impressive, this year's figures actually mark a 3-year low in terms of year-on-year growth.(5) Feeling the effects of the global recession, credit has tightened in Macau, leading police to believe that the recent spate of violence is as a result of junkets, set up to finance high level gamblers, seeking to reclaim debts owed to them.
Police feared a return to the level of violence seen during the Triad-led crimewave of the 1990s, which was also sparked by a major recession, the Asian Financial Crisis. Swooping on 21 unnamed locations across the Chinese territory of Macau, including hotels and casinos, 130 people were arrested on suspicion of money laundering and illegal gambling in an exercise named 'Operation Thunderbolt 2012.'
Sources other than those in footnotes:
Financial Times, August 2012: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a7ad40ec-df83-11e1-b81c-00144feab49a.html#axzz23njlklec
Wall Street Journal, August 2012: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443659204577572650198182324.html
XE Currency Converter: http://www.xe.com/
(3) BBC, Jan 2011: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-12106672
(4) Practical Stock Investing: http://practicalstockinvesting.com/2012/06/05/macau-gaming-in-may-2012-a-small-month-on-month-gain/
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