CASINO

No casino for Ho; Can a typhoon be a blessing in disguise?; Neptune expanding

TAGs: Laurence Ho, Melco Crown Entertainment, Neptune Group

MelcoMelco Crown Entertainment has been dealt a blow after it was revealed the Macau Studio City site won’t include a casino. A revised land concession contract, released in the government’s Official Gazette, wrote that the plot will have a five star hotel and movie industry-related facilities. No mention of the ‘C’ word though. Laurence Ho, Melco Crown chief executive, has said all along that gaming facilities will be present at the Cotai resort and a formal request was sent in late last year. That came in the wake of Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen stating that nothing had yet been received and the latest news could just mean the government is dragging its heels with regards the casino. What’s clear is the casino not being there is likely to affect the way Melco Crown does things in Cotai as movie industry facilities aren’t likely to cut it with the Ho.

Macau’s casino industry has finally been presented with something to blame any shortcomings in July on – Typhoon Vicente. The category 9 storm – the strongest to hit the enclave since 1999 – reportedly cost casinos a combined MOP535 million in lost revenue on Monday alone, according to J.P. Morgan. The enclave could now finish the month with as little as MOP24.7 billion in July – only marginally higher than 2011’s figure of MOP24.2 billion. Investment house Nomura added that revenue for the opening 22 days of July had reached MOP17.6 billion.

Junket operator Neptune Group’s latest filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange has revealed expansion planned for the not-too-distant future. The filing stated it “is currently in the discussion of possible investment in gaming promotion business in casinos in Macau which may require to be disclosed under the requirements of the listing rules”. That was before it added, “no binding agreement has yet been entered into by the company regarding this possible transaction”. Neptune Group was cited by the site Casino-Leaks as one junket that should be looked at and since March there has been little noise around the claims.

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