Beijing’s anti-corruption crackdown in 2014 scared Macau’s VIP and high stake gamblers and they stopped coming to Macau’s casinos to avoid the scrutiny of the authorities. China confirmed at the start of 2015 that there would be no letup in the anti-corruption campaign and Macau’s casinos have clearly suffered from the loss of these VIP gamblers.
Macau’s government recently reported that for the first two months of this year, the direct taxes collected from the gaming industry has dropped by 24% when compared to the same period in 2014. The government was able to collect MOP16.95 billion (US$2.12 billion) based on data collected by the city’s Financial Services Bureau. The report revealed that the government collected MOP8.46 billion in February from direct taxes on gaming, which was the lowest amount collected over a four year period for the month.
The Chinese New Year which is the biggest holiday in Mainland China is celebrated in February each year. This is also a period where Chinese nationals visit Macau’s casinos and spend huge sums of money playing high stakes games. However, these numbers did not surprise Macau’s officials as they expected a significant decline after Beijing’s crackdown.
Macau’s Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai On is expected to make an official speech on the 23rd of March outlining Macau’s new plans and vision. Beijing has made it clear that it would not relax its stance on Macau’s gambling industry and has asked Macau to change its vision and image of being the biggest gambling hub in the world to being a place that promotes education, tourist and economic development.