Tue, May 21, 2:20pm by Staff Writer
The gambling mecca of Macau has been a world-leading destination for gambling for some time now.
The island is the only place in China where gambling is legal, so it attracts many visitors from mainland China and the surrounding areas of Asia.
There have been concerns about the recent slowing Chinese economy and what impact that will have on Macau’s casino trade.
Rising crime rates at casinos are now also a problem, with efforts ongoing to try and clean up the impact of the island.
Vegas Slots Online is reporting that in the past year, instances of money laundering at casinos have decreased by six per cent, but loan sharks constitute another problem.
Overall, casino crime has risen more than 14 per cent in the same period, leading local authorities to develop a tougher stance.
The island’s crime figures show that there were 438 gambling related crimes in the first quarter of the year.
Illegal loans have increased by 37 per cent to 81 reported cases.
This was after loan sharing activity rose by almost 26 per cent in 2018 compared to 2017.
Law enforcement authorities are now placing more of an emphasis on loan sharking.
They are also trying to align the resources and information of the main inspection and investigation teams on the island by having them all working through a single operations centre.
This centre will be operating 24/7 and will be the base for four inspection teams on Macau, as well as gambling criminal investigators.
Further oversight will also likely be introduced to continue to help with this crackdown.
There have also been recent health concerns in Macau, with an outbreak of rubella.
Local authorities have been quick to clarify that disease spread is now under control and that there is no outbreak at present.
Almost 40 cases of rubella have been confirmed in 2019, with casino workers infected in April.
Gambling related crime on the rise in Macau SAR in 1Q19 https://t.co/mypOnbGYpe
— Topgoal Media TV (@Topgoal) May 20, 2019
The Venetian Macau casino resort was asked by the city to stage the simulation, in order for police and public sector departments, as well as the casino, to understand how best to respond to an attack, Calvin Ayre reported in March.
Among those set to participate are the Judiciary Police, the Public Security Police, the Fire Services Bureau and the Customers Service.
The exercise was coordinated by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau and the Unitary Police Services.
The Unitary Police Services issued a press released on the exercise, which it has dubbed Wolf Hunting 2019, adding that the Venetian was chosen, in part, due to its proximity to the barracks of the People’s Liberation Army, China’s military branch.
The drill was meant to simulate an assault on the Venetian, led by armed assailants.
It will include fake bomb threats and injuries, as well as hostage taking exercises.
This will be the second attack exercise held for the Macau gaming sector in the past 14 months.
In January 2018, the city conducted a similar drill at the Galaxy Macau, which is located in front of the Venetian.
Wong Sio Chak, the city’s Secretary for Security, acknowledged after that January drill that there would be more drills held in Macau.
This was however refuted in June, when the DICJ told news outlet GGR Asia that there were no plans to conduct simulations “in the coming months.”
It added, “Nevertheless, the DICJ will continue paying close attention to the security of the casinos and should there be any need for another joint simulation drill… the DICJ will actively participate in it and provide the necessary coordination and support.”
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