Posts Tagged ‘Macau casinos’

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.

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.

Global casino leaders can still rediscover Japan

October 27, 2021

Japan Fuji

Japanese authorities have made creating integrated resorts a mountainous task. Photo credit: JNTO

Hopes of creating the next big thing in Asian gaming skyrocketed as Japan began moving toward casino legalization in 2013. That enthusiasm has dissipated over these past eight years for a variety of reasons, and the smart money now bets building integrated resorts in Japan for billions of dollars won’t pay off.

I’ve been part of the negative wave that’s swept the Japan casino contest, due to culminate in the national government licensing up to three IRs next year. I’ve suggested that Japan stop the IR process to rewrite the rules and that authorities only award one IR license among the three current contenders, hoping for more attractive candidates to emerge later.

Then in late September, Caesars Entertainment, the largest US casino operator, rejoined the Japan IR race as the proposed casino operator for Wakayama prefecture’s IR bid. That’s the best news for Japan’s IR supporters in years. Caesars created the themed IR concept with Caesars Palace 55 years ago, and Harrah’s, which bought Caesars in 2004 before Eldorado Resorts bought the combined company last year, invented the modern casino customer rewards program.

Caesars’ return to Japan – it dropped out the bidding at the time of the Eldorado purchase – is a reminder that Japan remains the world’s third largest economy, and it boasted rapidly growing international visitor arrivals pre-Covid. It’s also a reminder that defying conventional wisdom about Macau remade the global casino business two decades ago. Japan could have similar impact, despite what the smart money says.

Former US diplomat and broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a columnist for ICE 365, a contributor to Forbes, a 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 casinos remain best bet in Asia

October 10, 2021

When Covid restrictions ease, Asian gaming destinations will feel the impact of Chinese government policies to curtail overseas gambling, with Macau likely to suffer least.

Despite investor fears triggered by new gaming law proposals, Macau’s casino sector remains the best bet in Asian gaming. China’s policies to stop overseas gambling by its citizens are real, and their impact will unfold as Covid travel restrictions recede. Destinations will feel the effects differently based on a variety of factors, including bilateral relations with Beijing.

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.

Measuring Macau’s loudest jingling

July 27, 2021

Lawrence Ho’s Melco Group operates City of Dreams Macau and gets high marks for recent non-gaming initiatives.

Macau casinos’ second quarter results, still below 40% of pre-pandemic levels, just show whose pockets are jingling loudest. What really matters in Macau won’t be found in earnings reports, due to factors that will to outlast Covid-19.

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.

Bank of Bangladesh money trail crosses Macau

June 29, 2021

The US$101 million theft from the Bank of Bangladesh account at the US Federal Reserve Bank of New York saw a majority of the funds sent the Philippines, much of it laundered via Manila gambling tables. A new BBC World Service podcast, The Lazarus Heist, looks at the theft in the broader context of North Korea hacking and other criminal activities. It’s a thoroughly compelling yarn.

Podcast producers reached out to me to help them understand the casino business in Asia. Some of my comments about Macau are featured in the ninth installment of the series, which begins in earnest around the seven minute mark, with my remarks beginning after 14:30.

I’m delighted to say that fellow CNN alumnus Mike Chinoy is also featured in the same podcast episode, sharing his insights into North Korea. During my 1991-1995 tenure in the CNN newsroom, amid the William Kennedy Smith (Blue Dot) rape trial and the OJ Simpson murder trial, Chinoy’s unflinchingly honest reporting from Beijing and North Korea – along with Christiane Amanpour’s life saving work in Bosnia – made us proud to be associated with the network.

Former US diplomat and broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a columnist for iGaming Business, 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.

Melco hides Stanley Ho ties in plain sight

June 2, 2021


Melco used “Stanley Ho’s strong and enduring links with Macau and its business community” to secure the land for its flagship City of Dreams resort in Cotai.

Australia Broadcasting Corp’s Four Corners investigation of Crown Sydney skewers James Packer and former New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell. It touches on links between Melco and Stanley Ho that the Hong Kong and New York listed casino operator has managed to hide in plain sight for 15 years. Melco’s culture of denial enabled its futile bid to acquire Crown that lost US$235 million while awarding a US$19 million bonus to the doomed deal’s architect, Melco chairman Lawrence Ho.

Former US diplomat and broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is a columnist for iGaming Business, 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.

Billions made Adelsons political VIPs

February 19, 2021
Sheldon Adelson and Dr Miriam Adelson (center) at the April 2012 opening of Sands Cotai Central with then Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on (left) and then Las Vegas Sands president and COO Michael Leven.

My retrospective on Las Vegas Sands founder Sheldon Adelson, who died last month, has been published in the February issue of Inside Asian Gaming. It’s accompanied by a look at how Adelson and his wife, born Miriam Farbstein in Tel Aviv in 1945, used their billions to change the course of politics in Israel and the United States. Dr Miriam Adelson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018 from Donald Trump for her work combating substance abuse and support for Jewish causes, after the couple gave more than $100 million to support Trump and his agenda.

As forecast here, new chairman and CEO Rob Goldstein announced on the company’s earnings call on January 27 that LVS is exploring online gaming.

Former US diplomat and broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is 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.

Galaxy’s Francis Lui tops Asia Gaming 50

November 29, 2020

For the second straight year, Galaxy Entertainment Group Vice Chairman Francis Lui tops the Asian Gaming Power 50 list, compiled annually by Inside Asian Gaming magazine. As highlighted in this Forbes Asia profile of Lui, Galaxy has become Macau’s de facto local flag carrier in the gaming industry.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is editor at large for Inside Asian Gaming, 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.

Macau casinos face long road to recovery

October 12, 2020

China’s national day holiday brought little joy to Macau. Despite eased travel restrictions, Macau faces a slow recovery from Covid-19, with gaming revenue barely reaching 15% of 2019 levels. An amorphous threat from Beijing to “blacklist” overseas casino destinations further clouds the regional gambling outlook.

Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is editor at large for Inside Asian Gaming, 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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