Macau’s rise as the new global gambling capital leads to complications for the Las Vegas casinos that have flocked to China for a piece of the action. Its differences are illustrated in the God of Gamblers case, in which a former barber named Siu Yun Ping won $13 million, setting off a chain of events, including a murder plot:
The files of the God of Gamblers case can be read as a string of accidents, good and bad: Siu’s run at the baccarat table; Wong’s luck to be assigned an assassin with a conscience; Adelson’s misfortune that reporters noticed an obscure murder plot involving his casino. But the tale, viewed another way, depends as little on luck as a casino does. It is, rather, about the fierce collision of self-interests. If Las Vegas is a burlesque of America—the ‘ethos of our time run amok,’ as Hal Rothman, the historian, put it—then Macau is a caricature of China’s boom, its opportunities and rackets, its erratic sorting of winners and losers.