Suspected Murder at Macau’s Sands Casino Resort

Murder crime scene tape
Police in Macau are investigating a suspected murder at a five-star casino.

30-second summary:

  • 41-year-old Chinese victim is reported to have been an active gambler
  • It’s reported to be a rare murder in Macau
  • Casino is a five-star resort
  • Slowing Chinese economy is impacting Macau’s casinos

Macau police are reportedly investigating a suspected murder at Sands Casino resort after a Chinese man was found stabbed in his bed.

Rare murder at casino resort

Broadcaster TDM, which covers services in the autonomous region on the south coast of China, first reported the murder of the 41-year-old victim, according to Reuters.

This is believed to be a rare murder case that took place at the five-star casino resort. The man, from mainland China, is thought to have been an active gambler. However, while the case was being investigated no further information was available.

News of the suspected killing comes at a time when a slowing Chinese economy is having an impact on casinos in Macau. The territory is the only place in China that has legalized casino gambling. Earlier this month, it was reported that a weaker yuan and trade wars were threatening the region’s casinos.

Robert Goldstein, president of Las Vegas Sands, which controls Sands China, said at the time: “There is always something to worry about. We get that, we are just very bullish, and we are blinded by the extreme size of Macau, the market today, but more importantly the market tomorrow.”

Despite the concern, Macau’s gross gaming revenue is reported to have risen 21% over 2018 to MOP102.40 billion (£9.82 billion; $12.69 billion).

Rise in gaming-related crime

Regardless of this good news for Macau’s casino operators, news of the suspected murder at Sands Casino is unlikely to do any favors for the industry, even if crime has reportedly dropped.

According to a November release from Wong Sio Chak, Macau’s secretary for security, crime statistics for the first nine months of 2018 showed the region to be a “safe and secure city”.

The release said: “The number of suspected crime cases reported in Macao, up to the end of September 2018, saw a 1.8% drop year-on-year, to 10,559 cases. Instances of the most serious forms of crime – kidnap, murder and grievous assault – continued to be either non-existent, or extremely low in number.”

Violent crimes also fell by 23.9% in the same period to 452 instances.

Notably, though, gaming-related crimes showed a slight increase of 1.1%, to 1,338 cases. The release added: “Cases of false imprisonment linked to usury – illegal lending of money – recorded a drop of 34.7% year-on-year, to 218 cases. Gaming-related usury went up 24.2%, to 390 cases.”

No word on license concessions

Even though Macau has a booming casino market, the future of two casinos in the region is under question.

Early January, VSO News reported that two casino operators in Macau could see their gaming licenses expire next year after regulators failed to provide a concrete response on a possible renewal.

The gaming concessions, held by SJM Holdings and MGM China Holdings, are due to end in March 2020.

According to the report, Ambrose So Shu Fai, CEO of SJM Holdings, had said last year that it was seeking a two-year extension period, bringing it up to 2022. At the time, it was noted that it was unable to compete “at the same pace” as the four other gaming operators in the autonomous region.

It remains to be seen whether or not the concessions are granted the two-year extension period.

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