Posts Tagged ‘Wynn Resorts’

Japan vote could boost casino hopes

December 13, 2014

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants to legalize casinos for Japan as part of his economic revival plan known as Abenomics. In Sunday’s vote, his Liberal Democratic Party’s expected landslide victory could give new momentum to casino legalization, but only if Abe and his allies begin convincing the Japanese public that casinos are a good idea.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Macau casinos take record fall in October

November 7, 2014

With mainland China’s enduring anti-corruption drive spooking high rollers and mass market players facing a smoking ban in the same old casinos, Macau gaming revenue fell 23.2% in October from a year earlier, the largest drop on record. Third quarter casino company earnings held up, but gaming revenue appears heading its first down year since the industry was opened to competition in 2002.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Rough September, worse October for Macau

October 10, 2014

Macau casino revenue took its worst tumble in five years in September. The outlook for October, traditionally one of the most lucrative months on the calendar due to China’s Golden Week holiday, is an even bigger fall.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Activist/author Pisani sees a place for corruption

September 17, 2014

At TEDx Ubud earlier this month, author and activist Elizabeth Pisani highlighted how corruption fits into social and political contexts, a vexing issue for US companies doing business overseas. Pisani, who will also appear next month’s Ubud Writers and Readers Festival, also noted that corruption isn’t always about self-enrichment.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Investors demand more from Macau

June 5, 2014

Macau’s gaming revenue rose 9.3 percent year-on-year in May to more than $4 billion, the fifth highest monthly total ever. That news sparked a brutal selloff in Macau casino shares, as investors expected even better numbers. Some analysts insist sellers are missing Macau’s big picture.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Macau stocks: expect a wild ride

May 7, 2014

Wells Fargo Securities analyst Cameron McKnight forecasts a “choppy” year ahead for Macau casino stocks. But for true believers, sharp drops represent buying opportunities.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a blogger for Forbes and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Casino billionaires risk all in brawl

February 26, 2013

When elephants fight, the grass gets trampled, according to an Asian proverb. Most animals know how far to take a confrontation without lasting consequences, but occasionally, one or both elephants gets gored.

For more than a year, Wynn Resorts chairman and CEO Steve Wynn and Kazuo Okada, his one-time largest shareholder and key financier, have dueled publicly. Last week, Wynn shareholders voted to remove Okada from the company board of directors, a day after Okada, the chairman of Japan’s largest pachinko machine maker, resigned amid leveling a blistering attack on Wynn.

Behind the boardroom drama, billionaire casino developers Wynn and Okada have traded allegations of numerous shady dealings in Macau and Manila. Bribery accusations, in dollar amounts ranging from the hundreds to the hundreds of millions, figure prominently in their charges. As I wrote in Asia Times, inviting regulators to scrutinize the casino business is a risky bet. That’s especially true in this confrontation, where neither elephant seems inclined to back off.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook and Twitter @MuhammadCohen.

Hard ten coming for casinos in Macau

June 26, 2012

This week marks the tenth anniversary of the real start of Macau’s gaming liberalization. The contracts that brought American casino operators Wynn Resorts and Las Vegas Sands to Macau were signed in late June 2002.

Less than two years later, the first Vegas-style casino, Sands Macao, opened. Macau was on its way to becoming the world’s largest gaming destination, with more than five times the casino revenue of Las Vegas last year. Casino operators have pocketed billions in profits from their Macau operations.

It’s been an easy ten years since liberalization, but now Macau casinos face a difficult decade ahead. They must contend with increasing competition from other Asian gaming destinations and among themselves. There’s also uncertainty about the continued flow of players across the border from mainland China, by far Macau’s main market, as Beijing goes through a wrenching leadership change.

But most of all, the casinos must handle the uncertainty of license renewal. As I wrote in Asia Times, gaming concessions will expire by June 2022, giving the Macau government more leverage to demand more from the casinos now. There also a chance that licenses won’t be renewed for one or more of the current concessionaires, most likely an American one, and no clear timeline or guidelines on the criteria for renewal. For casinos, that adds up to a lot of gray hairs and brown noses in the decade ahead.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com.

Diversification with Macau characteristics

July 20, 2011

The Wynn Resorts quarterly earnings announcement released this week underlines a key difference between Las Vegas and Macau. It’s a difference that Macau casinos need to address, particularly because Beijing says so.

Net revenue for Wynn’s Las Vegas operations in the second quarter totaled $390.8 million. Casino net revenues were $158.3 million, meaning non-casino revenues – from rooms, food and beverage, retail and entertainment – represented $232.5 million, or 59 percent of total revenues.

(During the earnings conference call, Wynn Resorts founder Steve Wynn trashed President Obama. Wynn’s personal attack extended an emerging tradition for the billionaire mogul.)

In Macau, Wynn registered net revenue of $976.5 million. Gross non-gaming revenue totaled $94.6 million, or less than 10 percent of the total. That figure must rise, Chinese central government officials urge, and Macau’s government has made diversification a priority.

Don’t expect Macau to mimic the Las Vegas patterns for non-gaming revenue. Instead, look for diversification with Macau characteristics. What works in Vegas overwhelmingly hasn’t worked in Macau and may never succeed. My Asia Times article examines reasons behind those differences. Beijing will need patience to see significant changes in Macau’s non-gaming revenue percentage.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie. See his biography, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com.

Casinos make bad bets in Asia

May 7, 2010

The world’s two most expensive casino resorts are now open in Singapore, whether the Lion City likes it or not. As I wrote in Asia Times, Singapore didn’t want casinos, just the theme park, convention center, museums and other attractions that it was able to squeeze out the developers in exchange for allowing the gambling dens. However, Singapore’s nanny state ways limit casino revenue. That promises trouble for developers Las Vegas Sands and Malaysia’s Genting Group that are investing a combined $10 billion in their resorts, and for Singapore, too.

Singapore isn’t the only Asian city where casino developers are placing bad bets. Billionaire Steve Wynn’s infatuation with China’s government and disdain for the Obama administration got another airing at last month’s debut of his Encore Macau property. Wynn’s plan to plunk down another couple billion dollars in Macau illustrates precisely why to be wary of Macau, especially if you’re Steve Wynn.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie.


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