A Hint of the Nature of the Problem

Phan Thi Kim Phuong... Arrested in 2002 after she admitted hiding  656 grams of heroin in the clothing of her younger sisters, aged 14 and  12.

Phan Thi Kim Phuong… Arrested in 2002 after she admitted hiding 656 grams of heroin in the clothing of her younger sisters, aged 14 and 12.

I have written more than a little about the dangers of what I have called the “Chinese gambling culture” to the gaming industry and particularly to Nevada gaming regulation – I might want to change the label to “Asian gambling culture” as the Chinese are not the only ones with a tendency to combine crime and gambling in a particular manner.  My premise is simple: gaming in Asia is growing faster than any other place; a number of first tier American gaming companies are redefining themselves as Asian companies; those companies are “too big to fail” for the economy of Nevada; crime related to gambling, money lending and collection is simply part of that culture; Nevada (or any other state) could not afford to give MGM, Harrah’s, Wynn or Sands a choice between Nevada and one of those Asian jurisdictions.

The Sydney Morning Herald is running a story about Vietnamese who were forced into a kind of drug slavery over gambling debts.  [Sydney Morning Herald] That story gives us a hint of what might lie under the surface.  Recently I was told a story about Macau; in the story there are willing lenders hanging out around the casinos in Macau.  They are willing to lend money to anyone who wishes to gamble.  No one knows the source of money, but it is said to be limitless, no security required the only cost is of course a significant interest rate.  If the borrower pays it back the story ends, if on the other hand the gamblers loses the money, he is the put in a kind of prison with a cell phone so he can call his family to raise the money for him; and, according to the tale, there he remains until he can pay his debt.  I have no proof, but the combination of the two stories suggests it might be an issue.


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May 2010
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