My exclusive consultant on the ground in Macau sent me a very thoughtful write up on how Beijing may be viewing Macau. If true, Macau may not be the investment oasis we all thought. Here are his thoughts verbatim:

“在中国新年,当它是传统的为了中国人民能递幸运的金钱对他们的家庭和朋友时,我们有这个问题为您: 如果您在MOP40Bn在税收入采取,因为政府在北京允许它的公民到您的赌博娱乐场自由地移动,并且您然后送MOP5.5Bn回到祖国,那是否不会被认为税? 我认为我们可以全部同意澳门的天作为自由市场经济是。 北京编写足够的数据在前6个月签证制约期间确切地知道什么“每6星期”签证政策的作用一次有在澳门经济对 “一次每10星期”选择。 允许词条通过香港或没有现在于另一根杠杆安排北京的。 如果澳门为政治局的口味快速地成长为(或太减慢),北京可能在将来做必要的调整。 为在计划经济被修造的国家,这是一个重要工具。 它意味着天30%, 40%甚至50%成长在澳门是。 在那上下文, MOP5.5Bn的最近付款由澳门政府对四川省的人民必须严密被审查。 只被授予了, 2008年,澳门政府能花费什么的~MOP20Bn,粗砺一半这花费了in。 并且那MOP20Bn非常明智地未可争论花费。 无论如何,为送MOP5.5Bn的城市状态~500,000为地震重建到它的君主乞求问题: 在澳门被积累仅存钱罐为“特别项目”的财富,当他们在北京也许升起? 在可怕四川地震以后,有大量压力在澳门“做更多”,并且许多甚而相信澳门的“缺乏贡献”对基础设施的早重建在四川直接地导致了放在适当的位置的签证制约。 但它采取的澳门将做什么与所有金钱? 当它在大厦公共基础建设时,来到零用钱Edmund的政府反复证明是不适当的: 轮渡终端和光路轨是只最可看见的这些失败。 那么可能这为北京是最佳到罪状澳门入遣返回国这些资金。 一种税为是祖国的一部分。 一种税为容忍所有恶习澳门促进”。

And in English:

“On Chinese New Year, when it is traditional for Chinese people to hand Lucky Money to their family and friends, we have this question for you:

If you take in MOP40Bn in tax revenues because the government in Beijing allows its citizens to travel freely to your casinos and you then send MOP5.5Bn back to the motherland, would that not be considered a tax?

I think we can all agree that the days of Macao as a free market economy are over. Beijing has compiled enough data over the last 6 months of visa restrictions to know exactly what the effect of a “Once every 6 week” visa policy has on the Macau economy vs. the “Once every 10 week” option. Allowing entry via Hong Kong or not is another lever at Beijing’s disposal now. If Macao grows to fast (or too slow) for the taste of the Politburo, Beijing can make the necessary adjustments in the future. For a country that is built on a planned economy, this is an important tool. It means that the days of 30%, 40% or even 50% growth in Macao are over.

In that context, the recent payment of MOP5.5Bn by the Macao government to the people of Sichuan Province has to be examined more closely. Granted, in 2008, the Macao government was only able to spend ~MOP20Bn, roughly half of what it took in. And arguably that MOP20Bn was not spent very wisely. None the less, for a city state of ~500,000 to send MOP5.5Bn for earthquake reconstruction to its sovereign begs the questions: Is the wealth that is being accumulated in Macao only a piggy bank for “special projects” as they may arise in Beijing?

After the horrific Sichuan earthquake, there was plenty of pressure on Macao “to do more” and many even believe that Macao’s “lack of contribution” to the early reconstruction of infrastructure in Sichuan directly led to the visa restrictions being put in place. But what will Macao do with all the money it is taking in? The government of Edmund has proven time-and-again to be inept when it comes to spending money on building public infrastructure: the Ferry Terminal and Light Rail are only the most visible of these failures. So maybe it is best for Beijing to guilt Macao into repatriating these funds.

A tax for being part of the motherland. A tax for tolerating all the vices Macao promotes.”