|As reported on Dave Berns on lasvegas.com, Macau represents a hugely lucrative market for the three new casino licensees - but there are potential pitfalls to be negotiated by the new boys, according to University of Pennsylvania Professor Arthur Waldron.|
Macau has a tradition of organized crime and corruption, with “triads” controlling prostitution, loan sharking, drug dealing and gambling tables at Macau's six casinos. Indeed, corruption, according to Waldron, is endemic to Macau: '… If you ask a Chinese today what is the No. 1 problem, they say it's corruption'
Waldron has acted as advisor to US government officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, on the politics and economics of the People's Republic of China. Last year he served on a six-member panel appointed by CIA Director George Tenet to study the agency's China shortcomings.
Vegas Strip developers Steve Wynn and Sheldon Adelson learned Friday that they are two of the three preliminary finalists to operate Macau casinos, with Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho the third person awaiting a mid-February date with government officials to negotiate development plans.
Waldron cautioned that Wynn and Adelson are going to come across problems they are unused to in Nevada: 'They're really going to have their wits about them,' Waldron said of the Las Vegans. 'They're going to have to realize they're going into a shark's pond. It's always been a rather lawless place.'
'On the whole I think it's a good thing to have foreigners involved in Macau,' Waldron noted, 'but I wouldn't be surprised if they discovered they have labor problems never encountered in their corporate experience - threats, extortion.'