Macau gambling takes on more water


  The critical reports on the state of gambling in Macau continue to flow. This one from Antoaneta Bezlova of the Inter Press Service News Agency leaves little doubt about the current and future troubles facing the Chinese holding.


  To wit: “Beijing’s decade-old flirt with lucrative gambling in the booming casino town of Macau has gone decidedly sour.


  “The former Portuguese enclave may have surpassed Beijing mandarins’ wildest dreams by becoming one of the fastest growing economies globally, clocking annual growth of 30 percent in 2007 and overtaking the world’s gambling capital Las Vegas in earnings, but the boom has come at a cost.


  “A string of corruption and money laundering scandals involving Chinese communist party officials and managers of state firms have filtered through the press, creating a wave of resentment on the mainland where the leadership is attempting to reinstate Confucian virtues of plain living and honest public service as the mantras of the day.


  “Meanwhile, the enclave’s freewheeling dash for growth has alienated chunks of Macau population that have been left out of the development loop and are unable to share in the gambling bounty.”

  Here’s the part that should give local casino moguls indigestion:


  “Editorials in China’s state press have described an "epidemic of gambling," afflicting large groups of mainland population and leading to countless losses of family savings as well as huge amounts of public money gambled away at Macau’s casino tables. While the amount of lost public money has not been reported, the Beijing Youth Daily went as far as saying earlier this year that reckless gambling by officials was a ‘threat to the national treasury.’”