Macau, a special administrative area of China has attracted several major overseas casino operators such as Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn among others. Since Macau is the only area of China where gambling is legal it attracts thousands of gamblers from mainland China to its casino resorts.
However when gamblers return to China leaving gambling debts behind them it is difficult for the casino operators to recoup this money. Since gambling is illegal in China the courts there don’t recognise these debts. Usually in the case of unpaid debts the casinos use the companies or individuals who take care of high roller players in their casinos to recoup these debts which can run to millions of dollars. The Venetian Casino in Macau belonging to the Sands Corporation now finds itself in such a situation of trying to collect multi million dollar debts.Recently the Venetian Macau took out a lawsuit against two mainland Chinese high roller gamblers. High Roller gamblers are players for whom money is no object and they are much sought after by casino operators, who offer them all sorts of incentives to gamble in their casinos. The Venetian Macau which is owned by Sands China is suing the owner of the Shanghai Gaoyuan Property Group, Zou Yunyu for the 3 million dollars which it claims she owes the casino. The second high roller player to be sued is businessman and politician, Xie Xiaoquing.
The casino states in its lawsuit that the business man owes it 1.5 million dollars. The papers were filed in a Hong Kong court. Both Hong Kong and Macau have legal systems that are different to China’s system. The claim is that both high roller players borrowed credit as gaming chips. The casino claimed in court that there was a credit agreement with both gamblers that any unpaid debt would incur an interest rate of 18 per cent.
Both Zou Yunyu and Xie Xiaoqing are wealthy with Zou Yunyu said to be worth almost 2 and a half million dollars.Macau’s economy is heavily dependent on income from mainland China’s gamblers so much so that recently the Chinese authorities tried again to encourage the Macau government to diversify its economic base. To this end the luxurious casino resorts built in Macau must all have a large percentage of non- gambling entertainment and retail outlets on offer to visitors to Macau..