Sands Cotai Central is the Scene of Grisly Murder
Macau’s Judiciary Police are investigating the murder of a man on the grounds of the Sands Cotai casino. The murder took place at the Conrad Macao at Sands Cotai Central, a hotel on the grounds of the LVS China’s resort.
The Judiciary Police have not released the name of the man murdered. All that is known is he was 41-year old from the Chinese mainland, he was a frequent patron of the casino who was known to the staff, and he was found stabbed to death.
Sands China released a statement about the tragedy: “We offer our sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased at this difficult time.
“The well-being, safety and security of our guests are of paramount importance, and hotel management is cooperating fully with the local authorities in their ongoing investigation.”
Cotai Strip Casinos
No news reports have suggested the killing at the Conrad Macao was related to the triads or to debt collection, gaming media sites which have covered the murder have focused on the role of Chinese organized crime, the triads, in the backdrop of Macau. Third party junket operators arrange casino trips for high stakes Chinese mainlanders to the Cotai Strip.
There, the junket operators give VIP high rollers casino credit. Because they cannot use Chinese courts to collect the debts, it is thought junket operators use triad enforcers to collect debts through extrajudicial means. Chinese organized crime is connected mainly to money laundering, extortion, prostitution, and murder.
When Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption crackdown came to Macau in mid-2014, it targeted junket operators and their connections to Chinese organized crime. While the crackdown led to some junket operators leaving the city and likely drove organized crime underground for a time, it never really left the city.
Sands Cotai Central
Sands Cotai Central was the second integrated casino resort launched by Las Vegas Sands Corp. in Macau. The 106,000 square foot resort has 6,000 hotel rooms, which are located in four separate hotel towers: St. Regis Macao (400), Sheraton Macao (3896), Holiday Inn Macao Cotai Strip (1224), and Conrad Macao (636).
Conrad Macao is a five-star hotels owned by Hilton Worldwide. The complex also has convention space, famous restaurants, entertainment venues, and retail outlets.
2012 Grand Opening
Sands Cotai Central was designed by the Aedas architectural firm. The resort cost $4 billion to develop. Aedas noted about the construction process: “Work started in 2006 but the project went through a period of suspension due to the global economic crisis. During this period, work on the project came to a complete stop and it was therefore quite a challenge to restart the project. Staff had to be recruited and contractors engaged. Over 130 contractors were involved in the project. The imported labour quota restrictions have also been challenging.”
The grand opening of the luxury resort was on April 12, 2012 in what was called “Asia’s Biggest Launch Party in 2012.” To celebrate the opening, famed high wire walker Jade Kindar-Martin and his wife, Karine Mauffrey, traversed the 1700-feet distance between the Venetian Macau and the Conrad Hotel on a high wire.
Sands China Ltd
Sands China Ltd also owns the world famous Venetian Macau, the most lucrative of all the casinos in China’s gaming capital. The third resort owned by LVS China is the Parisian Macau, which opened in September 2016 to great fanfare. Between the Venetian Macau and Parisian Macau, Sands China had 9% revenue growth in 2018.
As more details emerge in the Conrad Macao at Sands Cotai Central murder, BOC will report those details.
2020 Macau Casino Licensing Decisions
While no time is a good time for a mysterious murder at one’s business, 2019 is a particularly bad time for Sands China to be having incidents. In 2020, the six major casino companies in Macao will have their gaming licenses up for review.
Sands China Ltd and Sheldon Adelson long have had a good relationship with officials in Macau and Beijing — the best relationship of all the American gaming companies working in the former Portuguese colony.
The problem is, LVS is an American casino company. The continuing tariff war with the Trump Administration means the US casinos could become collateral damage in the US-China dispute. And like any US company working in China, Las Vegas Sands, MGM Resorts, and Wynn Resorts might one day be replaced by domestic operators.
Already, Melco Resorts & Entertainment, Galaxy Entertainment, and SJM Holdings are rivals. Nothing says the US companies couldn’t be pushed out of Macau and forced to sell to Chinese operators. While Sheldon Adelson’s global influence makes that unlikely, anything could happen in the next year before the licenses are reviewed. Having a murder in one of the resorts is now way to start that review process.