Macao Country Report
Macau is a special administrative region of China with a high level of internal autonomy. It is currently the world's largest gaming market, with an income level near the global top. Macanese politics is generally pro-Beijing, with the opposition largely marginalised. Although gaming revenues have declined sharply since 2014 due to China's corruption crackdown, the government's strong fiscal position allows 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.
In September 2017, a Macao gaming company proposed a USD500-million cryptocurrency Initial Coin Offering (ICO) backed by a former leader of the 14K triad in Macau, Wan Kuok-koi. The involvement of financiers with known connections to organised crime in a poorly regulated sector underscores the challenges facing Macao's anti-corruption efforts. Nonetheless, growth in the gaming industry has improved since 2016. Casino Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) grew by about 19% in 2017, the first positive annual growth rate since 2013. The infrastructure of the territory has been substantially upgraded since the return to Chinese sovereignty in 1991 and will continue to receive further investment from mainland China.
Terrorism risk is negligible in Macao, with no known groups operating in or from the territory.
None of mainland China's potential adversaries will probably target Macao in a military conflict, and Macao's government faces no violent domestic threats.
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, the overbearing gaming industry and its long work hours, as well as the government's perceived inadequate response to Typhoon Hato in August 2017, popular support for the government remains relatively high and the pro-democratic opposition has generally been mild in its criticism of government policies. At present, there is little chance for the emergence of any major protest movement similar to those in neighbouring Hong Kong.