Macau casinos look to insure themselves against rising threat of kidnappings

Macau casinos operators are taking out insurance policies to protect themselves against the kidnapping of wealthy guests over unpaid gambling debts, the South China Morning Post reported.

The measures being taken come amid harsh economic times in the city as gaming revenues fall and as high-stakes gamblers look to borrow money from shady sources following Beijing’s tighter policies on how much money can be taken from the mainland to Macau. 

With most kidnappings occurring in guests’ rooms, hotels are looking to protect themselves from potential lawsuits from victims and their families. 

In 15H1, official data shows as many as 170 people were held against their will, more than double the figure for the same period of 2014. However, these are only the cases the authorities know about, with experts saying the true total is likely much higher.

“Word of mouth can lead to a trend of an interest in the policy, security and the protection,” Ashley Coles, an assistant director of credit, political and security risks at Jardine Lloyd Thompson told the SCMP. 

“All the major casino and hotel chains will have looked into this.”