Macau Casino Plans Simulated Attack

Macau skyline at sunset
Macau city officials will simulate an attack on the Venetian casino resort on March 22.

30-second summary

  • Macau officials will stage a simulated attack on the Venetian Macau casino resort on March 22
  • This is the second such drill in Macau; the first was in January 2018 at the Galaxy
  • The city is already on edge due to the slowing Chinese economy

Details of this attack simulation

The Venetian casino resort in Macau will be the target of a simulated attack on March 22. This a drill, in collaboration with the city’s public sector and police departments, is designed to see what problems might arise if an attack occurs and so the best strategy can be developed to respond to such a threat.

The departments that will be taking part in this drill include the Customs Service, the Fire Services Bureau, Public Security Police, and the Judiciary Police. The Unitary Police Service and the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau will coordinate the mock attack.

A press release revealed the attack to avoid alarming people in the area. The code name of the drill is Wolf Hunting 2019. The reason they chose the Venetian casino resort for doing this drill is that it is close to the Chinese People’s Liberation Army barracks.

Armed assailants will attack the facility. The drill will include simulated injuries, hostage taking, and bomb threats to cover as many potential scenarios as possible.

A previous attack simulation drill was staged in January 2018 at the Galaxy Macau, which is near the Venetian casino resort. There were indications after that drill that there would be more in the future.

With recent mass shootings around the world, it is important that local branches are prepared for such an incident affecting Macau. Attacks involving casinos in Las Vegas and Manila during 2017 were the catalysts for the first simulation.

Macau potentially struggling

While the authorities are naturally focused on ensuring that there a competent response team in case of such an attack, they also have concerns about the performance of the city’s gambling facilities.

The MGM China and SJM just had their Macau licenses extended until March 2022. This brings them in line with the other major casino licenses in the region. The license extension cost each of the companies $24.8m (£.18.8m)

However, there are concerns about what will happen in March 2022, when these licenses will be up for renewal. There will be a bidding process, but no details have yet been made public.

There are concerns that American casino companies might struggle to renew their licenses for another period due to the ongoing trade war between the United States and China.

The Sands China, Wynn Macau, and MGM China each have American owners. There are also concerns that the Chinese economy is slowing down. That would result in less disposable income and therefore the gambling sector in Macau would struggle.

Increasing competition

A lot of planned gambling expansion in Asia will increase Macau’s competition. Most notably, Japan will issue three licenses for mega resort casinos in the near future.

The number of high-rollers visiting the city is declining, and they are an important source of revenue. A report from Credit Suisse showed that a decrease of about 10% in the number of high rollers visiting Macau in the final quarter of 2018. This is why the company is planning to reduce its exposure in the gambling hub.

The Chinese government also wants Macau officials to increase their focus on the oversight and regulation of the gambling sector. In addition, they want the city to diversify somewhat away from gambling.