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WeChat ban could plot Macau casinos

The social network is an important tool in connecting American operators with potential players from mainland China

The ban on US President Donald Trump’s use of the Chinese social messaging service WeChat could harm North American casino operators in Macau and disrupt their future in the territory, analysts say to the South China Morning Post (SCMP) ).

Trump issued an executive order last Thursday that will make it illegal for US citizens and corporations to carry out “any transaction related to WeChat”.

The request is due to take effect 45 days from that date and was issued on the same day of a similar request to ban TikTok, a video platform owned by Chinese company ByteDance.

“Most likely 95% of the players in Macau are Chinese from the mainland. How do you communicate with them? For WeChat, ”Carlos Lobo, a lawyer at Weir and Associates, told SCMP without any doubts.

Three of the six casino operators in Macau – Wynn Resorts, MGM Resorts International and Las Vegas Sands – are American and each operates in Macau through subsidiaries.

Lobo, a former legal adviser to Sands China, whose parent company is Las Vegas Sands, said the ban on WeChat, a widely used messaging app, could be an unexpected fluke for non-American casino operators like Melco , SJM Holdings and Galaxy.

Ben Lee, managing partner of IGamiX, ​​a Macau-based consulting firm focused on the gaming industry, estimated that between 80 and 90 percent of Macau’s gross gaming revenues come from mainland China.

Gambling is illegal in the country and WeChat is an important channel of communication between Macao casinos and these customers. “Casinos are not allowed to advertise in [continental] China, so marketing uses a lot of social apps to contact potential customers and communicate promotions,” said Lee, who concluded: “That is, if they are deprived of this channel, in the absence of any other channel, they will be seriously hurt compared to their peers [outside the US]. ”

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Generalist media, focusing on the relationship between Portuguese-speaking countries and China.

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