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China’s Digital Currency Could Reshape Macau’s Gambling Industry

  • Casino operators approached by regulator on potential move
  • Fearing the prospect, junkets are shifting out of Macau
relates to China’s Digital Currency Could Reshape Macau’s Gambling Industry
Photographer: Anthony Kwan/Bloomberg
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Macau saw revenue plummet by $27 billion this year as pandemic travel curbs kept lucrative Chinese gamblers away. While visitors are slowly returning, a potentially bigger threat is unnerving operators in the world’s biggest casino hub: the prospect China’s central bank-backed cryptocurrency, the digital yuan, will be introduced to the enclave.

Though no formal plans have been announced, some junkets -- businesses that act as middlemen for Chinese high rollers who make up half the city’s gambling revenue -- are exiting the industry or shifting resources elsewhere. They’re saying that the imposition of a traceable, government-linked currency will be the death knell for an industry already hobbled by the virus’s impact and stricter rules around high-stakes gambling over the past few years.