Dragon Corp’s ambitious plans for $500 million floating Macau casino not deterred by China ICO ban

  • Dragon Corp plans to raise $500 million from the ICO
  • Investors will not get equity in the project but will receive gambling chips to use in the casino

Macau gaming company Dragon Corps has announced the launch of cryptocurrency initial offering (ICO) to raise funds for a floating casino.

Dragon Corp's ambitious plans for a floating casino include raising $500 million from an ICO. Picture: Dragon Corp.
Dragon Corp’s ambitious plans for a floating casino include raising $500 million from an ICO. Picture: Dragon Corp.

According to reporting carried out by Business Insider, the company hopes to raise around $500 million from the ICO.

In return for their investment, buyers will receive cryptocurrency coins that can be swapped for gambling chips in the casino.

The plan faces considerable legal complications – though with the glut of crypto ICOs lately, it seems like practical issues are just mere details as the phenomenon grows and grows.

But Bitcoin is not authorized in Macau, while China has banned ICOs and as gambling is not legal in mainland China, gambling debts are not legally enforceable.

According to Business Insider Dragon’s PR effort was not helped when convicted gangster Wan Kuok-koi, known as Broken Tooth, turned up at the launch ceremony, although the company’s CEO, Chakrit Ahmad, denied that Kuok-koi was involved with the project.

He said: “Broken Tooth is not involved in Dragon. Do we know him? We know of him. We know him. Not to a great extent. He came to the event introduced by someone else as a prominent figure in Macau … He is not involved in Dragon and he is not financing Dragon in any way.”

Gambling chips

Strict Chinese laws about taking money out of the country mean that gamblers travelling to Macau have to go through junket companies. The junkets are paid to arrange trips to Macau, and when the players arrive in the city, they are given an equivalent amount in gambling chips. Before returning to China, the gamblers swap the chips for cash.

There is a huge market involving casinos and junkets in Macau, which Ahmad estimates could be twenty times larger than that of Las Vegas. Under the Dragon ICO, gamblers will simply be able to purchase Dragon crypto-coins and exchange them for gambling chips.

The floating casino, which is due to be complete by 2020, will cost $300 million to build and is being largely financed by the Norwegian government, though according to Ahmad, the main purpose of the project is to bring blockchain technology to the Macau gambling market.

The floating element of the casino is not just a gimmick – the claim is that it can be moved elsewhere if, for example, the Macau region became less favorable to casino gambling – such as through laws or restrictions.

The Norway government is set to finance 80%, leaving 20% for the ICO.

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