Analysts predict gambling location blacklist not for Macau


A recent blacklist system announced by China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism aims at imposing restrictions upon mainland Chinese residents when traveling to enlisted “cross-
border gambling tourist destinations.”
The ministry noted in the announcement that there has been a rising number of Chinese outbound tourists in recent years as international travel becomes increasingly convenient, which has contributed to friendly exchange and cooperation between China and the rest of the world, according to a report by Xinhua News Agency.
However, some overseas cities have attracted Chinese tourists with their gambling businesses, disrupting China’s outbound travel market and endangering Chinese citizens’ lives and property, said the ministry.
In establishing the blacklist system, the ministry and several relevant departments will impose travel restrictions upon Chinese citizens heading to overseas cities and scenic spots on the list, according to the announcement.
Reactions within the market are divided, as there is a grey area as to whether Macau will be considered a “cross-border gambling tourist destination.”
Besides the fact that mainland China, Macau and Hong Kong are considered three different tariff zones, the latter duo, which are Special Administrative Regions, have their own immigration controls separate to those on the mainland, under the “One Country Two Systems” principle.
Amid the announcement, Hong Kong stock prices of the six concessionaires all recorded a drop ranging from 1.6% for Sands China to nearly 4% for MGM China yesterday.
The mainland authority has not yet responded with regard to the city’s confusion, but figures related to the gambling and tourism industry in the city are confident that the list is unlikely to include Macau.
Lam Kai Kong, director of the General Association of Administrators and Promoters for Macau Gaming Industry, provided comment on the issue to local gambling media Allin Media. He pointed out that mainland authorities have been clear about combating overseas gambling, implying that he is worried about Macau being blacklisted.
He also believed that it would be even easier for the authorities to keep track of casino visitors as they need to show a valid Health Code and Covid-19 test result in order to enter a Macau casino.
On the other hand, lawmaker Ng Kuok Cheong, who concerns himself with gambling-related topics, told local Chinese media outlet All About Macau that Macau casino and junket operators should brace for possible turbulence. However, he is generally confident the new policy is implemented only in respect of other countries.
In addition, some anonymous gambling industry stakeholders told the same media outlet that “over interpretation of the new policy should be discouraged.” They see the policy as a reminder to nationals to spend within the country.

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