Country Reports

Macao Country Report

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Risk Level

Very High


Executive Summary

Macau is a special administrative region of mainland China. It is currently the world's largest gaming market. Macanese politics is highly pro-Beijing, with the opposition largely marginalised. Although gaming revenues have declined sharply since 2014 because of mainland China's corruption crackdown and will be sensitive to slowing Chinese growth, the government's strong fiscal position enables it to avoid cuts to social programmes and public-sector salaries, and the stability of the incumbent administration is largely unshaken. The government has adopted preferential policies to encourage business development outside gaming, although gaming is likely to dominate the economy for the foreseeable future.Triad criminal groups are active in the gaming industry, but they seldom threaten foreign businesses.
Last update: August 10, 2019

Operational Outlook

Organised criminal groups remains active in the gaming sector. Risks increases as Macao's gaming revenue declines with the economic moderation in mainland China. In the first six months of 2019, there were 295 cases of loan-sharking activity connected to gambling, 16.1% more than during the same period in 2018. The number of cases varied considerably in the two quarters. However increased police patrols around casinos and closer collaboration with the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau will likely prevent prolonged increases in crime. Separately, basic infrastructure of the territory has been substantially upgraded since the return to Chinese sovereignty in 1991 and will continue to receive further investment from China.

Last update: September 21, 2019


Terrorism risk is negligible in Macao, with no known non-state armed groups operating in or from the territory.

Last update: September 11, 2019


Despite the tightening of anti-money laundering rules – for instance, by making compliance and due diligence operational obligations – multinationals are likely to face a moderate risk from money-laundering activities. In addition, companies involved in the gaming and financial services are facing increasing risk from cyber crimes. Criminal gangs from Hong Kong and South East Asia operate actively in Macao especially in the gaming industries. However they are highly unlikely to significantly disrupt the business environment for international companies.

Last update: September 26, 2019

War Risks

None of mainland China's potential adversaries will probably target Macao in a military conflict, and Macao's government faces no violent domestic threats.

Last update: September 11, 2019

Social Stability

Following Macao's recovery from its economic recession in 2017, instances of labour unrest over unpaid salaries have subsided. Although there is some public dissatisfaction regarding real estate prices and the overbearing gaming industry and its long work hours, pro-democratic opposition has generally been mild in its criticism of government policies. There is little indication therefore of the emergence of any major protest movement similar to that in neighbouring Hong Kong.

Last update: September 11, 2019