Wynn Macau Hit By Theft

If China’s economic slump wasn’t hard enough on the Asian casino business, an alleged multimillion-dollar junket theft at the Wynn Macau sent gaming stocks downward from Hong Kong to New York City. 

Photo: AP Photo

The amount stolen, originally pegged at $258 million but later revised downward to $43 million, triggered a selloff of gaming stocks as Wynn Macau shares dropped 3.6 percent on the Hong Kong stock market after its parent, Las Vegas-based Wynn Resorts fell 4.6 percent on the New York Stock Exchange, according to Bloomberg Business. At least 30 complaints have been filed and street protests took place in front of the Wynn property the following weekend, the paper reports. Macau judiciary police are investigating the complaints, including allegations of breach of trust and that blank checks were used.

Police didn’t name the casino or junket involved, but parties are believed to be the Wynn Macau and Dore Entertainment, a company that operates a junket inside the casino. It is suspected that employees of Dore Holdings made off with the cash, according to Bloomberg. In Macau, junkets operate as third parties inside casinos, giving high-roller VIPs access to credit. The casinos, in turn, supply the junkets with dealers and chips in the private rooms where the junket operators take their clients.

Junket theft isn’t a new problem in Macau. Last year more than $1 billion was allegedly stolen from another junket operator, according to Bloomberg. The theft caused investors to withdraw money from Macau’s gaming market, reducing the amount junkets could lend to gamers and causing a liquidity squeeze that still affects the industry, Daiwa reportedly said. Wynn Macau and Wynn Resorts shares recovered in the days after Daiwa issued its reports, and the Las Vegas-based parent company says it didn’t lose any money and isn’t owed any by Dore. For its part, Dore did confirm a former employee stole money from the company and has filed a police report.