Who would have believed Saipan Gambling would be booming due to China’s battle to protect its currency and stamp out corruption.
If you have heard of it you might know that it was the scene of a bloody world war II battle between Japan and America. At the end of the war America took sovereignty of the island. It is now a peaceful tropical holiday island in the Pacific Ocean with a resident population of just 50,000 people. It is just 2500 miles from Beijing in eastern China.
Saipan gambling is legal and it has 8 casinos, the largest of which is the Best Sunshine Live. It has been booming recently due to actions taken by China to protect its currency and stamp out corruption.
The Chinese are a nation of gamblers and for the past few years millions have visited Macau. Macau is an Independent country bordering China where gambling was legalised in 2002. It has been booming with Chinese gambling visitors in recent years and overtook Las Vegas in terms of gambling revenue.
However, the fortunes of Macau wained after the Chinese Government clamped down on billions of dollars leaving China for gambling in Macau. Macau had attracted thousands of high rolling gamblers from China who were spending corrupt money on gaming. China’s action was to limit cash withdrawals using social debit cards which all Chinese people use for their banking. The way around that for wealthy Chinese gamblers is to use a “junket” service. That works with the gamblers borrowing money in Macau and then repaying it when they get home to China. The junket service is mostly a cash service so, effectively it is a money laundering service. That is something which the Chinese Government hoped to eradicate.
China has become cash strapped with both legal and illegal outflows of cash. This has brought the Yuan state currency down to new lows. They have had to impose measures to stem the cash-flow as foreign currency reserves plummeted by 20%.
One casino stands out amongst them all. The Best Sunshine Live Casino is now attracting large numbers of the high rolling Chinese gamblers. Many of those used to visit Macau before the clamp down. This casino is attracting $3.9 billion a month. Compare that to the biggest casino in Macau, the Venetian which turns over $2.5 billion per month. Saipan is well located for Chinese visitors, especially from Beijing. The wealthy arrive on private jets. Macau has taken a real hit in gambling terms due to this new booming location.
Other well-known gambling locations such as Singapore, Cambodia and Australia have all managed to increase gambling revenues since financial controls were placed on Macau. Chinese links with the Macau government are strong but China has no control over the US island and other non-Chinese gambling destinations. Another bonus factor for the island is that gaming tax is only 5% as against 39% in Macau.
The Saipan gambling is currently on a roll with a much-needed revenue boost but maybe that will change. There are some major casino developments in most of the gambling hubs in the far east. These developments could also attract the Chinese high rollers. For now, the island is doing its best to attract them. The luxurious new Saipan Imperial Pacific Resort Casino Hotel opens during 2017. There are Chinese signs all over the place and more than a plethora of Chinese supermarkets and restaurants.
House prices are also going up because the Chinese have bought most of the available properties for sale. That is always a good sign, the fact that the Chinese are investing heavily is good for its future. It is possible that gambling will flourish for many years to come but the competition of gambling operators is extremely fierce. There is always the possibility that high rolling Chinese gamblers will flock to other locations where taxes are lower. So, governments can have an influence too.
Read more about Chinese gambling holidays.
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