The three heads of the Gaming Control Board of Nevada were in Macau last week for a series of meetings with officials and law enforcement in the world’s largest gaming district.
The trip was an attempt by the Nevada officials to re-establish relationships with their Macau counterparts at the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau of Macau, which had fallen by the wayside in recent years. It was the first time all three members of the GCB travelled together to Macau.
“We’ve established a good rapport with the DICJ (Macau Gaming Bureau) and will lead to a good era of cooperation and discussions amongst the two agencies,” said GCB Chairman A.G Burnett. “We were well-received and, as with all things in Asia, these relationships take time to nurture.”
One of the key elements of the trip was for the Nevada board to see how Macau regulates their gaming industry, which pulled in a windfall of $38 billion in 2012. Nevada on the other hand had gaming revenue of just over $10 billion.
“I thought it was a great opportunity for the other two board members to see Macau, ask their own questions of operators, and form their own opinions as to what they think about it,” Burnett said, referring to board members Shawn Reid and Terry Johnson, who were both making their first trips to Macau. Burnett has made several trips to the region, many of them while acting as the Assistant Chief of Corporate Securities for the GCB.
As well, several companies are heavily invested in both Nevada and Macau, including Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, and MGM Resorts. All three companies are in the process of building massive complexes in the region. Nevada’s slot machine industry itself also has strong ties to Macau’s gaming industry.
With Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands both currently under investigation in the United States by the Department of Justice, it’s possible the meetings with law enforcement touched ever so delicately on the subject of their doings in Macau. Both companies are being investigated in the U.S for possible breaches of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
In the end, A.G Burnett deemed the meetings “a complete success”, and that they would prove beneficial for all parties involved. The GCB members have now returned to Nevada where they have online poker applications waiting for approval from Sartini Synergy and Lottomatica, in addition to the dozen they’ve already approved for the forthcoming debut of intrastate online poker in Nevada.