World Series of Politics Episode 9: Las Vegas, Macau and illegal gambling

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Las Vegas is booming. Nevada’s gaming revenue has topped $1bn for 20 straight months. Brendan argues it’s now the sports and entertainment capital of the world.

Las Vegas: The sports and entertainment capital of the world?

With NFL and NHL franchises in the city, and rumours of a MLB franchise joining, not to mention the conventions and conferences in the city, Las Vegas sets out the benefits that gaming can bring to a jurisdiction.

Macau’s concession process

Next conversation turns to Macau, where the long-awaited licensing renewal process has come to an end. Despite a late challenge from Genting, the six incumbents have prevailed. As Brendan says, Macau has effectively been shut off for the past three years, the influence of junkets has been largely removed, and moving money is subject to significant new conditions. The salient point remains – we don’t yet know how Macau is going to recover.

Illegal gambling and negative press

The focus then turns to illegal gambling, in the wake of the American Gaming Association’s study which estimates $510.9bn is wagered offshore each year. This is an existential threat to the industry, Brandt says, something that AGA chief executive Bill Miller has previously raised on the podcast.

This follows a flurry of negative coverage of the industry in the US press. Is this simply growing pains for the sector, as Brandt says?

In Brendan’s eyes, it’s just another evolution of the industry – for a sector that’s paying a special tax on top of its sales tax, income taxes, property taxes, it’s creating a lot of value and economic development. Just look at Las Vegas.

Remember, the World Series of Politics is available on Apple Podcasts.

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