Casinos in Macau face little threat of being targeted by a terroristic group or rogue gunman or faction. That’s according to Paulo Chan, director of the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ).

Macau casinos security Paulo Chan

Paulo Chan, the director of the agency responsible for inspecting Macau casinos, says the city has a relatively low threat level in terms of terrorism. Not everyone agrees. (Image: GGRAsia)

The chief gaming regulator in  Macau asked its six major casino companies to submit detailed security reports, outlining their plans and protocols for preventing attacks similar to what occurred in the Philippines. At Results World Manila earlier in June, a disgruntled gambler armed with an assault rifle and a two-liter bottle of gasoline set fires that killed 36 casino guests and employees.

After preliminary review of the security reports, DICJ has declared resorts in Macau as safe and secure.

“According to police evaluation, we are still in a relatively low-risk situation,” Chan told the media this week. “Our customers are still welcome to visit Macau to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.”

Chan added that the gaming operators, DICJ, and Judiciary Police will continue to meet in coming weeks to discuss additional safeguards that could be effective for keeping guests and employees safe inside the casinos.

“More security measures, more communication between the operators and the PJ (Judiciary Police), will be arranged in order to strengthen local casinos’ security,” Chan told the Macau Daily Times.

Evacuation Plans

The people who died in the Resorts World Manila attack perished not from gunfire but from smoke inhalation, with many of the victims trapped on the second floor without adequate evacuation routes as fires set by the attacker raged.

Macau’s DICJ wants not only assure proper preventative security measures are in place, but also wants to be sure there are no safety vulnerabilities contributing to harm should a catastrophic event occur.

Gaming and government authorities in the Philippines are still sorting through footage from hundreds of security cams seeking answers to what went wrong, but so far they have found sprinkler systems that didn’t work, and the resort’s lack of a proper evacuation plan contributing to death and injuries amid the mayhem.

PAGCOR, the Philippines’ gaming regulator, has since suspended Resorts World’s casino license. But many say the gaming agency shares blame, as it allegedly failed to address insufficient emergency exits during property inspections.

Securing Casino Customers

The Chinese government less than a year ago lifted a travel ban that prohibited its citizens from traveling to the Philippines. Casinos in the Philippines have credited an influx of Chinese tourists as contributing to a surge in gambling revenues over recent months.

By declaring Macau casinos safe, DICJ might be hoping to keep Chinese gamblers playing at their homeland resorts, particularly as destinations such as the Philippines and other newer Asian casino markets appear to follow in addressing safety matters.
In Thursday’s briefing with the Chinese press about the preliminary security reports, Chan said that in addition to casino security being strong, Macau is in less danger than other places for facing a major tragic incident.
“According to the police’s evaluation, [Macau is] still in a relatively low-risk situation,” Chan said.