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In recent years casino tourism in Macau has exceeded that of every other area of the world, including famous Las Vegas, NV. In 2011, Macau pulled in five times the revenue of Vegas after collecting $33.5 Billion in revenue. Macau is now considered to be the new gambling Mecca of the globe, a title that Las Vegas held for decades. Unfortunately, Macau’s new status does come at a price as the seeds of corruption have begun to creep up in the globe’s new gambling Mecca.
Per an article on wantchinatimes.com, Mainland and Macau police recently arrested employees from various different gambling agencies. The agencies known as junket operators offer loans to Chinese gamblers to circumvent laws that limit how much money they take out of the country. At present, Chinese players are only allowed to take a maximum of $50,000 outside of Mainland China
The report also claims that these junket operators may have been tied to the disgraced Bo Xilai and that he was using Macau as a way to funnel money out of China. Employees of these junkets have been reported to have been detained by police and questioned about a corruption case involving "a former senior Chinese official."
According to a report on VancouverSun.com, David Star, Neptune, and Sun City are among some of the junket operators that are involved in the apparent funneling of funds out of China. In addition, four junket operators in Macau are under investigation but were not named.
Junket operators are many times linked with triad criminal groups per the vancouversun.com report and often make loans well in excess of the legal limits in place. The loan plus interest and facilitation fees must then be repaid in China. However, the money is loaned out in the form of casino chips and that money can then be put into either a Hong Kong or Macau bank account and then transferred anywhere in the world.
The arrests come as a result of a new China initiative that is trying to prevent excessive amounts of money from leaving the country. Last year alone, close to $500 billion left the country via illegal means.
Quite often, money leaves the country in the way of overpayment for goods or services with the overpayment amount being transferred into a bank account outside China. Through September of this year $225 Billion left China, prompting China’s new leadership to take action.
In addition to the recent arrests, new guidelines have been distributed to junket operators to help curb future oversight. Among these new guidelines are requirements of accurate monthly lists of loans, players the loans were made to, and what establishments the players used the money at. Also, money that comes in or out of a junket exceeding $500,000 must be reported within 24 hours.
What effect the new regulations will have on the overall problem of money being transferred out of the country remains to be seen but it is a solid sign that the new leadership is taking the problem seriously and working to fix the issue.
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