Did Las Vegas Just Become China's Billionaire New Money-Laundering Mecca?

Tyler Durden's picture

An odd thing has been happening in the last few months. Since the Chinese government began to crackdown on 'junkets' and 'corruption', Macau - the hub for Chinese billionaires to smuggle their money out of China - has seen revenues disappointing. So much in fact that, as Reuters reports, gambling revenue in Macau fell 3.7% in June on an annual basis, the first decline in more than four years. It could be coincidence, however, that as Macau has seen growth collapse, Las Vegas has seen Baccarat (the preferred game of China's rich) surge. In May, as Macau growth slumped, Las Vegas Baccarat surged over 85%. While slots (the staple indicator of the 99% in America) continues to decline (-4.4% in May), it seems rich foreigners are finding creative new ways to wash their money out of China.

Macau had been the money-laundering center for Chinese elite (as we noted here)

"You don't actually buy anything," said Lai, standing near a half-empty display case containing a messy spread of watches and jewellery. "We just help people get money out of China so they can gamble more."

But as Reuters reports,

Gambling revenue in Macau fell 3.7 percent in June on an annual basis, the first decline in more than four years...


The southern Chinese territory of Macau, a special administrative region, like neighbouring Hong Kong, is the only place in the country casino gambling is legal.


Gambling revenue from Macau's 35 casinos fell to 27.2 billion patacas in June ($3.4 billion) from 28.3 billion patacas a year earlier according to data released by the Macau government on Tuesday.

And coincidence or not, at the same time, Las Vegas sees a massive spike in Baccarat business (the preferred game of China's wealthy)...

Of course - correlation is not causation - but we can't help but wonder if the Chinese have found a new way to get their cash out of China.

*  *  *
On a separate note, a glance at the table above also shows the tumble in slots revenue (the staple of joe sixapck and 99%) - not exactly reflective of the animal spirits associated with all-time high stock markets.

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Headbanger's picture

Sum Ting Wong Wit Dat?

GetZeeGold's picture



Hope they brought some water with them.

insanelysane's picture

Who the fuck is still producing computer reports on a line printer?  Is that track fed?

BuddyEffed's picture

"Who the fuck is still producing computer reports on a line printer?  Is that track fed?"

Wasn't there some very large company that was found to be tracking some of their business on hand written pieces of paper?  Anyone recall who and what the data was for?

BaBaBouy's picture

"Who the fuck is still producing computer reports on a line printer? Is that track fed?"

Check Out The COMEX Cots GOLD Report !


How About Its' Circa 1980 Printer Report?

NAW, It Couldn't Be INTENTIONAL So That NoOne Will Look At The Actual Data, Showing The Commercial SHORTING Of GOLD and SILVER Paper...

NAW, It Just Can't Be...



ZH Snob's picture

I'd love to run into one of these clowns at the poker table.  I'd wash his chips squeaky clean then send him home to one of those ghost cities.

teslaberry's picture

i'd love for you to do that and then he'd have his goons track you down and murder your ass and take his money back you fucktard. 

Bemused Observer's picture

" rich foreigners are finding creative new ways to wash their money out of China."

Yeah, well they'd better wash it good before they take it to Vegas...they are having some serious water issues there I hear...

NihilistZero's picture

I'm sure the rubes are having water troubles, but the oligarchs and their gambling establishments will bribe, steal and manipulate their way into all the water they need to keep the laundromat running :-)

Exponere Mendaces's picture

I suspect Bitcoin is still making inroads, despite the PBOC heavy-handedness against it. Its common knowledge that the top-down rules that the government "suggests" to be enforced don't always end up getting implemented the way they intended. Regional governors have more latitude than you think.

Anyway, most of the Bitcoin activity is Hong Kong based, so unless they're about to revoke the entire idea of "Special Administrative Regions" in China, Bitcoin will still be traded amongst people, and worked around on the exchanges using voucher programs instead of conventional banking routes.

Wouldn't surprise me at all that the downtick in Macau is some heavy-hitters understanding you can transfer your entire chunk of wealth on a USB drive in a suitcase.


Jayda1850's picture

I've been to casinoes all over the US and though it might be racist to say, everyone of them is filled with asians. You would think some of the backwoods casinoes wouldn't be such, but they are everywhere!

MeMongo's picture

Embrace your future jayda! Embrace your future(:-(

Wild Theories's picture

Must all be money-laundering operations, no way rich Asians could actually just want to gamble...


CheapBastard's picture

<< everyone of them is filled with asians >>


As long as they bring along a bunch of those nublie, slim, young, porcelain-skinned, Flowers with them I'm all for moar of them coming over! Gotta balance out the Walmart heffers somehow.


The men can return home after they have spent all their money.

Son of Loki's picture

You're going to make my 5'4", 195lb wife very jealous you do things like that.

Bosch's picture

Just become?  Like this is a new recent development? 

Uh, no. 

Debugas's picture

what's the "tax" on washing in Las Vegas ?

Dr. Venkman's picture

Too many tiny Orientals crammed together with pointy umbrellas in Macau.

Does Vegas allow Chemin de fer?

buzzsaw99's picture

this explains nothing about the mechanism of (alleged) money laundering, and cites no evidence. just baseless accusations and generalizations. this board is starting to resemble yahoo in shoddy reporting.

DollarMenu's picture

Yes, I'm wondering - do they come with actual suitcases of cash?

Any cop could stop them on the way in from the airport, call them druggies, and take the whole pile.

Bank drafts or checks, credit cards, would leave a paper trail.

Just how do they 'launder' this money in LV?

Instx please.

insanelysane's picture

The Reid Clan is very happy.

GetZeeGold's picture



They've moved on from the whole solar farm cattle rustling thingy.

Ghordius's picture

to put the whole thing in perspective, China has currently 4% (1.2 million people) of the world's (dollar) millionairs (USA: 42%, which amounts to 14 million people).

Source: Credit Suisse Wealth Report 2013

bullchit's picture

'And how many of those 14 million (aires) are down to faux real estate values?

Ghordius's picture

typically, for the average American (not the millionair) it's twice as much financial assets as real estate (leveraged nominal amount)

so the average American is estimated with a net worth of 300'000 USD, of which 250'000 is financial, 100'000 is real estate, minus 50'000 debt

in comparison, the average Chinese has a net worth of 22'000 USD, of which roughly half is financial and half is real estate, minus negligible debt

but median is better for comparisons: US median net worth: 45'000.  Chinese median net worth: 8'000

all from the report sourced above

Son of Loki's picture

I think you may be too generous with the merikan net worth. One big difference is Chinese save like crazy; merikans consume like crazy.

bullchit's picture

I wonder why you are trying to baffle us with bullshit here Ghordius? "The average American"? 0.01% owns how much?

The average Chinese has a net worth of...you haven't got a clue. Nor has the Government. You think they pay taxes?

US median net worth.....how much of that imput was governmental?....got the stats? I got the stats on mine...0% No pensions here, no medicare here, lose 'yer job? back to the farm. (A big relief for most folks here.)

I live in the region. My land taxes were recently raised to 0.5% of official land values (OLV). We recently sold a piece of land x4 of the OLV. We paid the equivelent of $60 for 25 acres per year.

Nobody chases us for income taxes. We pay  7% sales tax on everything.

Sure there's no medicare locally. Get really sick and you're fucked. So don't get really sick. Stop all the gorging, you well-stuffed cunts.

Our police force are just a local tax collection team. They don't collect too much off of us locals, because we know where they live. ('And this place is alive with ex- Viet hardware)

Our Pols are a problem.....but some of them have just got the message.....

We,(most of us) in the East will survive this reset. The message is stay local....even as a continent. 2 Billion peoples in the Orient can do very well, between ourselves, without the usa..Thank-you.

Too hard on you? No. Get rid of 90%+ of your "Ailments" by eating.....Yawn...you've heard all this shit before, right? Just read "the China study."

I jump out of bed every morning, hungry....don't get in my fucking way...

Trusiz's picture

I'm enjoying your eatern diatribe...  What do you eat in the morning?

Almost Solvent's picture

350 Million vs. 2 Billion


1 Billion of them probably own a shack and a hat. 

Shizzmoney's picture

Judging from the high stake Aria poker cash games (mostly filled with Macau types), then yes.

But it also could just be that Asians with money really love to fucking gamble.

Pairadimes's picture

I wonder if we could interest them in Detroit.

d edwards's picture

Did you know that Detroit citizens are $90 BILLION in arrears on water payments??? unbelievable!


Hell, you could buy the whole city for less than that!

bullchit's picture

$90 Billion arrears?....On that stuff that comes out of the sky that they(people) own?? What exactly do the Feds own?

Molon Labe.

Molon labe, lit. "come and take", is a classical expression of defiance reportedly spoken by King Leonidas I in response to the Persian army's demand that the Greeks surrender their weapons at the Battle of Thermopylae. It is an exemplary use of a laconic phrase. 

RaceToTheBottom's picture

Where have you been? The Chinese are buying up Detroit by the block sight unseen. When you buy that much at a time, you can control more of your destiny.

I am seeing direct flights to Detroit from Seattle, that are code shared with South China Air. I have never seen that before...

Pairadimes's picture

Time to order a Rosetta Stone for Mandarin.

saltedGold's picture

I remember in the early 90's, my friend and I were visiting my grandfather.  He had the news on and they were talking about something random in China.  They showed a clip of some Chinese military guys walking past the camera.  My grandfather turned to us and said, "you see those little green hats?  Better start learning Chinese because they're coming here."  Oh how we laughed....

LawsofPhysics's picture

Let them spend their "money" how they want.  hopefully they bring some water with them.

d edwards's picture

Yeah, if they're going to "launder" their money they'd better bring their own water. :-D

WillyGroper's picture

 it seems rich foreigners are finding creative new ways to wash their money out of China.

No tickie, no laundry. 

Speed it up, Vegas out of water soon.

robertocarlos's picture

I'm in line at the grocer and a Chinese guy in front of me pulls out a stack of bills, with at least 2 100s, from his back pocket. No wallet, no money clip, just unfolded plastic bills which tend to cling together. And living downtown we get stabbed for nickles. I was a bit envious that he could be so casual with money. 

Trestle Rider's picture

I was in Macau, gambling Saturday, in early June.    Very, very few westerners.  Minimum bet typically 2000HK, or pehaps over $250 US.  I had to hunt around to find Blackjack for 500HK.  Busted, but coworker made money. Lots of young Chinese with wads of dough.

Mercantilist's picture

You didnt mention the surge in Megabucks....I mean when you combine it with the drop in slots and the surge in megabucks you see despiration is reigning..