Wynn-Adelson Vegas rivalry ended in Macau

September 24, 2022

Las Vegas Sands founder Sheldon Adelson and wife Dr Miriam Adelson (center) at the April 2012 opening of Sands Cotai Central in Macau, with then Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on (left) and then Las Vegas Sands president and chief operating officer Michael Leven.

Las Vegas visionaries Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn took separate routes to revolutionizing the Strip while ragging on each other. When their paths brought them to Macau, the Adelson -Wynn rivalry was expected to continue. Instead it fizzled, amid their radically different approaches to the great gaming opportunity of their lifetimes.

Former US diplomat and broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is Asia editor at large at ICE365, a contributor to Forbes, columnist for Asia Times and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about TV news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook, Twitter @MuhammadCohen and LinkedIn.

Genting bankruptcy charts new cruise course

August 30, 2022

Same ship, different brand. (Photo provided by Resorts World Cruises)

Covid coupled with massive ill-timed bets on the Asian cruise market led to bankruptcy for Genting Hong Kong, the company that began as Star Cruises. But for Genting chairman Lim Kok Thay and family that control the global gaming and leisure group, bankruptcy seems little more than a course correction.

Former US diplomat and broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is Asia editor at large at ICE 365, a contributor to Forbes, columnist for Asia Times and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about TV news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook, Twitter @MuhammadCohen and LinkedIn.

The Lazarus Heist details North Korea cybercrime

August 23, 2022

I’m reading The Lazarus Heist, adapted from last year’s BBC World Service podcast of the same name about North Korea’s cybercrime wave that includes my comments on its casino angles. Author Geoff White puts Pyongyang’s high tech trespass in the context of the ruling Kim dynasty and the post-Cold War world. It’s a fascinating true crime read laced with geopolitical insight.

Note: The book repeats the podcast’s error of identifying me a Macau resident. Although I’ve been visiting Macau for decades and have on occasion spent weeks there on assignment, I have never been a Macau resident and never identified myself as one. White is working on a correction for future iterations of the book, and I’m grateful for that.

Former US diplomat and broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is Asia editor at large at ICE365, a contributor to Forbes, columnist for Asia Times and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about TV news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook, Twitter @MuhammadCohen and LinkedIn.

Angela Leong bets on Macau, Stanley Ho

July 20, 2022

Lisboeta in Cotai recreates highlights of casino mogul Stanley Ho’s salad days in1960s Macau. (Image provided by Lisboeta)

People go to Macau to see replicas of Venice, Paris and London. With Lisboeta, Angela Leong is betting tourists will come to see Macau, more specifically, the Macau of her late husband and casino kingpin Stanley Ho. The resort stakes her family’s claim as proud heirs to Ho’s gaming legacy.

Former US diplomat and broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is Asia editor at large at ICE 365, a contributor to Forbes, columnist for Asia Times and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about TV news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook, Twitter @MuhammadCohen and LinkedIn.

Japan curbs casino enthusiasm

June 11, 2022

Hokkaido is among leading Japan tourist destinations that chose not to seek a casino resort. (Photo credit: Japan National Tourism Organization)

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proposed casino legalization for Japan in 2013, prompting unprecedented excitement among gaming companies across the globe. After a nearly a decade of delays, diffidence and grassroots dissent, Japan has two bids for three licenses, with leading casino companies and top tourist destinations, including Tokyo and Hokkaido island, choosing to pass. Across the board efforts to curb Japan casino enthusiasm have been breathtaking.

Former US diplomat and broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is Asia editor at large at ICE 365, a contributor to Forbes, columnist for Asia Times and author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about TV news, love, betrayal, high finance, and cheap lingerie. See his bio, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook, Twitter @MuhammadCohen and LinkedIn.

Casino intellectual property questions loom

May 2, 2022

Stadium Swim is a signature attraction at Circa Resort in downtown Las Vegas.

Casino resorts spend billions to develop unique customer experiences. But in most cases gaming companies don’t protect intellectual property underlying those signature attractions. Experts say that’s not as crazy as it sounds, even as casino resorts increasingly rely on marketing those customer experiences.

Former US diplomat and broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a correspondent for ICE 365, a contributor to Forbes, columnist for Asia Times 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, archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com, follow him on Facebook, Twitter @MuhammadCohen and LinkedIn.

Fading Macau icon Suncity leaves overseas legacy

April 5, 2022

The listed arm of Suncity owns 34% of central Vietnam beachfront resort Hoiana. (Photo provided by Hoiana)

Once dominant in Macau’s junket business, Suncity has fallen on hard times. Founder Alvin Chau’s late November arrest toppled its junket business and nearly that entire segment of the Macau gaming economy. Last week, the non-junket listed arm of Suncity reported a US$83 million loss in 2021, casting “significant doubt on the group’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

Amid the devastation, Vietnam beachfront casino resort Hoiana should prove Suncity’s lasting positive legacy. The listed side of Suncity owns 34% of Hoiana, a US$4 billion project soft opened in June 2020, 15 minutes drive from Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage site. As travel restrictions ease across Asia, Hoiana appears poised for success, whatever happens with Suncity.

Former US diplomat and broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a correspondent for ICE 365, a contributor to Forbes, columnist for Asia Times, 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 biography, online archive and more at www.muhammadcohen.com; follow him on Facebook, Twitter @MuhammadCohen and LinkedIn.

Chicago gambles on transformative casino

March 29, 2022

Rush Street Gaming’s Rivers 78, in a new riverside neighborhood, is among three finalists for a Chicago casino license. Hard Rock and Bally’s have proposal similarly ambitious projects. (Graphic provided by Rush Street Gaming)

The Windy City isn’t blowing its casino opportunity. The long running saga took another turn when Chicago chose three finalists for its casino license.

The city eliminated two proposals that built on the success of its McCormick Place convention center. Instead, Chicago opted for projects that would introduce new landmarks to the urban landscape.

I’ve been urging a similar approach for New York’s downstate casino opportunity, encouraging an iconic development that makes New York City a more attractive destination for residents and visitors and maximizes new investment and employment. Adding live table games to New York’s two current downstate electronic gaming facilities at race tracks would likely dampen enthusiasm for the region’s third license and lengthen the odds of creating a casino worthy of the largest city in the US.

When it comes to casino development, downstate New York has a better hand than Chicago. But winning often depends on how you play your cards.

Former US diplomat and broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a columnist for ICE 365, a contributor to Forbes, columnist/correspondent for Asia Times, 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, Twitter @MuhammadCohen and LinkedIn.

China closes high roller tap for Macau

February 17, 2022

With high rollers increasingly scarce, Las Vegas Sands subsidiary Sands China is betting that fake London, alongside fake Venice and Paris, will bring in crowds . (Photo provided by Sands China)

For years, a key question overhanging Macau has been how long will China tolerate hundreds of billions of dollars annually exiting the mainland via Macau casino VIP rooms. “No longer,” mainland authorities broadcast with the arrest of Suncity chairman Alvin Chau, precipitating the rapid collapse of Macau’s junket business.

Macau may still be the best bet in Asian gaming, but it’s now a whole new ballgame. No more debating about whether mainland China’s efforts to curtail overseas gambling and money transfers apply to Macau.

Mainland high rollers can still gamble millions in Macau. Without junkets, though, they’ll have to find their own means to skirt China’s currency controls. And they’ll know exactly how Beijing feels about their activities.

Former US diplomat and broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a columnist for ICE 365, a contributor to Forbes, columnist/correspondent for Asia Times, 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, Twitter @MuhammadCohen and LinkedIn.

Mohegan Gaming takes the long view

January 28, 2022

From its Connecticut base, Mohegan Gaming has expanded to Las Vegas and Korea. (Photo credit: Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment)

In its first quarter century, Native American casino operator Mohegan Gaming and Entertainment has expanded from its Connecticut base to Las Vegas and Asia. In an exclusive interview, MGE president and CEO Ray Pineault, the second Tribe member to lead its gaming arm, talks about those milestones and the Mohegan vision that looks 13 generations ahead.

Former US diplomat and broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a columnist for ICE 365, a contributor to Forbes,columnist/correspondent for Asia Times, 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.


%d bloggers like this: