When in Rome, er, Macau… The numbers don’t lie: the center of land-based casino gambling lies in Asia, not Las Vegas or Atlantic City, and Western companies who choose to ignore this fact do so at their own peril. Was it cultural arrogance that led New Jersey regulators to (mistakenly) believe that if forced to make a choice, MGM Mirage would choose Atlantic City over Macau? Similarly, there’s been a certain amount of hand-wringing ever since Steve Wynn announced he was considering shifting his company’s headquarters from Vegas to Macau.
Wynn’s potential relocation may reflect a desire to take advantage of Macau’s lower corporate tax rate, but it’s also a reflection of the cultural differences between East and West. China’s government plays a much greater role than Western regulators in determining corporate winners or losers, and as the first U.S. casino group to relocate its brain trust, Wynn’s move would be a great show of deference to Chinese authorities – not an insignificant gesture in a status-conscious society. Read more.