MGM China chair Pansy Ho has added her name to the growing list of voices that think Macau needs to invest in something other than gambling. She told China Daily the reason isn’t that they “can’t grow the gaming industry,” but they want the enclave “to become more than that.” “If we don’t want Macau’s growth to eventually find itself at a stalemate, we need to start thinking quickly on how Macau can continue its impetus,” Ho said.
Diversification has long been advocated by those in high positions in the casino business enclave to stop it becoming too reliant on gambling. The fear is once other destinations open Macau could lose its luster and ultimately become more of an Atlantic City than a Las Vegas. Ho, in her role as vice chair and secretary general of the Global Tourism Economy Forum, added the enclave “intends to cater for tourists by re-inventing itself”. Don’t be surprised then if Macau isn’t even referred to by a name in years to come and simply becomes a symbol. Consider this a warning.
To illustrate this even further the analysts at Nomura have announced they expect casino business growth to be flat in July. They predict gross gaming revenue could be between MOP24 billion and MOP25 billion – representing a flat to low single-digit year-on-year growth. Nomura came to its conclusion after sources reported to them the first 15 days of July had delivered MOP11.8 billion in gross gaming revenue.
Sands China was within a whisker of reaching a deal with the government to allow a transfer of use for their Four Seasons luxury apartment hotel on the Cotai strip. The deal, worth an estimated US$1 billion, was in place with the government. That hinged on Sands agreeing to drop a suit against Macau for its decision not to award Cotai lots seven and eight to the firm. The Wall Street Journal then published allegations concerning the firm, which a source told Business Daily made it “too difficult” for the government to let the deal go through. It comes as more allegations continue to come out involving the firm bankrolled by Sheldon Adelson and it just goes to show that a few hookers could just be the tip of the iceberg.