Capital controls not deterring gamblers, Ho says

Melco Resorts International head Lawrence Ho said capital control measures introduced in China and Hong Kong are not deterring Mainland gamblers.

In an interview with Reuters, Ho said measures such as new facial recognition measures to be brought in at ATMs would simply prompt gamblers to alter their banking habits.

“It’s been two and a half years of being very stressed and fearful, so people are starting to let loose now in China,” Ho told the news agency. “Normally it would be big news and people would be scared away from Macau,” Ho said of the new measures.

“But because of the underlying demand, people adapt.”

Concessions granted by the Macau government will start to expire in 2020 and Ho said he hoped authorities would give an indication in the next year of what to expect. But he added he remained confident of the company’s ability to rebid or reapply for the licenses.

Macau gross gambling revenue jumped 23.7 percent in May, far exceeding analysts’ expectations, most likely due to continued strength in the VIP market.

Total revenue was MOP22.7 billion ($2.8 billion), according to figures from the DICJ. That far exceeded the consensus expectation for growth of 16 percent in the month.