Posts Tagged ‘Hong Kong On Air’

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.

New York City casino economics: 1>3

January 15, 2022

A single New York City casino license may produce a gaming changing entertainment destination like Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands. (Photo credit: Marina Bay Sands)

A multibillion dollar casino complex in New York City would give the region a much needed economic jolt in the wake of Covid. But if New York State issues the three casino licenses permitted by law for the downstate metro area, New York City won’t get a showplace integrated resort worthy of the leading US market. A single license is New York’s best bet for tourism, business and jobs.

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.

Professors that shaped my life died in 2021

December 27, 2021

In this year brimming with loss, the two most consequential teachers of my college years passed away. Historian Donald Kagan and urban planner Alexander Garvin were towering figures in their chosen fields and fixtures at Yale for decades.

Garvin and his bowties took the train up from his day jobs in New York City government under five mayors to teach Study of the City on Tuesday nights. In the wake of Watergate and amid mounting evidence of New York’s municipal dysfunction, Garvin’s class demonstrated a useful role for the public sector. I earned my first A in that class, writing a term paper comparing two NYU housing blocks south of Washington Square Park. Later I lived in that neighborhood, and then in Washington’s Capitol Park South, the first US urban renewal area, a fact I learned in Garvin’s class.

Thanks to Garvin, I also began a career in government. I don’t remember the circumstances but I must have reached out to him, and in June 1978, he gave me my first real job, surveying damage from New York’s summer of ‘77 blackout along Broadway in Bushwick, Brooklyn. As I learned in the Department of City Planning report that incorporated that fieldwork, every borough in New York has a street named Broadway that starts at the its waterfront.

Trying make government work for the people took me across the border into Queens, working with retailers on Myrtle Avenue in Ridgewood, to the municipal markets that Fiorello LaGuardia launched to get pushcarts off city streets, to Queens Borough Hall, to Washington and to Tanzania as a US diplomat telling America’s story to the world.

I needed a job back in 1978 thanks in part to Donald Kagan. As a freshman, I got steered to Kagan’s introduction to ancient Greek history, a subject I knew nothing about. At the first lecture, in an auditorium with hundreds of students, it was a clear within minutes that I was in the presence of a truly gifted scholar and teacher. Kagan’s Origins of War course, about what ignited the Peleponnesian War, Second Punic War, World War I and World War II, and what kept the Cuban missile crisis from become a war, made history alive, contemporary and relevant.

Kagan inspired me to attempt multiple majors including classic civilization. I even went to summer school to try to learn ancient Greek.

When my triple major dream crumbled at the end of my junior year, I approached Kagan with a different idea. I asked for his approval to complete my senior paper over the summer and graduate early. Kagan, who thought more of my newspaper work than my scholarship, agreed to oversee my paper and arrange the administrative details, saving my family about $6,000 in tuition.

Like me, Kagan was a working class kid from New York who drank the Yale Kool-Aid. Kagan shuddered at the prospect of something ruining such a uniquely blessed place, the way the Athenians had destroyed their own. He didn’t want to see that happen to Yale, and he didn’t want to see it happen to America.

His attitudes could be a bit ancient. He left Cornell because he believed it knuckled under to student protest demands for a Black Studies curriculum. He opposed the option to allow undergraduates to take up to four to their required 36 courses as Pass/Fail, rather than for a grade, to stop the “unmanning of Yale students.” His turn as dean went sideways over a proposed new Western Civilization curriculum that was more well endowed than received.

Conservative to his core, Kagan believed in preserving the essential values of society and passing them down the generations. Garvin believed tearing something down could lead to building something better. Their teachings and their kindness have helped shape my life.

Former US diplomat and broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a columnist for ICE 365, a contributor to Forbes and Inside Asian Gaming, 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.

Macau junket boss arrest sends wide shock waves

December 1, 2021

Suncity leader Alvin Chau’s arrest escalates China’s crackdown on its citizens gambling and illegal money transfers. (Photo provided by Suncity Group.)

The arrest of Suncity chief Alvin Chau and others from the leading Macau junket promoter dramatically escalates China’s efforts to limit its citizens’ gambling activities and illegal overseas money transfers.

Suncity’s Hong Kong listed arm, which excludes its junket business but holds stakes in casino properties Hoiana in Vietnam and Tigre di Crystal in Russia plus a casino hotel under development in Manila’s Entertainment City, says Chau plans to resign as its chairman and CEO.

My ICE365 article on Genting’s licensing in Nevada while discounting its Philippines business highlights how regulators around the world have perfected the art of diminishing, if not disregarding, inconvenient facts. In Macau, at least for now, the authorities have lost their blinders when it comes to Suncity. This story has barely begun to unfold.

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.


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