Posts Tagged ‘gambling in Asia’

Macau ignores elephant as casino revenue soars

August 3, 2010

What a difference a year makes. At the 2009 Global Gaming Expo Asia at the Venetian Macao, crowds were thin and worry was thick. For the first time since casino competition began 2004, casino revenue growth had stalled due to visa restrictions that cut the flow of visitors and money from mainland China. A year later, Macau’s casinos are steaming ahead at a record pace, 67 percent of a year ago. Yet the possibility of visa restrictions remain Macau’s elephant in the room that could send the house of cards crashing down again.

As I reported in Asia Times, experts are divided on whether the Beijing will tighten the noose again. But sooner or later, Macau’s resorts will need to broaden their appeal to visitors to expand beyond the Chinese market. Record revenues can make that transition easier or more difficult.

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.

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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