Casino heists tend to be big, Hollywood-movie blockbusters; it seems producers understand that they can’t go wrong with having a charismatic crew of actors rip off a casino. The glamour and pomp is too much to pass up, and they know the movie crowd will show up if they can get actors with big names to play the parts.
It turns out that casino heists are big business in real life, too. In a scene straight out of Oceans 11 (12 and 13), a Macau casino heist totaling in excess of a whopping $258 million took place in mid-September of 2015. This sum was significant enough to perturb stockholder loyalty, and was reflected in the tumbling stock price of Wynn Macau the following week.
As is the case in most thefts where large sums of money are involved, there was insider information that played a part in the heist. The Macau insider responsible has yet to be narrowed down; authorities and analysts suspect that it was a group in the Dore Holdings junket management sector, and who formerly worked as a cage manager in the establishment.
Because of the way that junkets work, the crew – it is assumed to be more than one person, because of the coordination involved – would have had ample opportunity to make off with the huge sum of money. You might wonder why the need for junkets; casinos employ them as subsidiaries – sort of – that help them handle deep-pocketed businessmen in the VIP section. These high-rollers spend big bucks, and have special needs. Of course, the casino wants them to stay as long as possible, playing the games – and the high-rollers want to stay as long as possible, too.
Since these whales are quite rich, the amount of money they tend to play with needs to be fronted by the casino, since bank withdrawals have legally-set limits. Everything takes place in private rooms that aren’t as monitored as the main rooms where the majority of the casino games are played. It was exactly under such conditions that the $258 million heist took place, causing the Dore Holdings in the Macau casino to release the information that cause Wynn stock to plummet about 4.6%.
The Macau heist is on the heels of a $2.4 billion heist that took place in 2014 in the same general area. That one led to investors panicking and removing the funds that keep junkets alive, so to speak. Even though Wynn didn’t lose any direct cash in the theft, they still stand to lose both trust and take on debt if this thing gets out of hand. People may start losing faith in the casinos in the region if this stuff keeps happening.
As of now, Dore Holdings is still tasked with the proper operation of a couple of VIP rooms in the casino. It’s not time to panic yet, but if there isn’t more oversight to minimize these kinds of insider heists, casino operators can expect offline gambling revenues to continue to drop.