A smoking ban in Macau could cause casino revenue drop when it’s introduced early next year. Nomura analyst Harry Curtis told Bloomberg that gross gaming revenue in the Chinese casino enclave will plummet by “several” points in 2013 thanks the government banning smokers from certain parts of the casino floor. Nomura’s Curtis alluded to similar bans in US states that caused a 20 percent decline in revenue and as some parts of the casino will still allow smoking agreed the figure in Macau will be a lot lower. The analyst also mentioned there is no nearby alternative for the city’s casino customers, especially those from the Mainland. Sands China is likely to be least hard hit as it has the largest floor space of all operators and benefits from the rapidly expanding mass market more than other firms. Casinos in the enclave are on their own in being allowed to designate certain areas for smokers as all other restaurants, cafes and public venues have a full blanket ban in place.
Macau’s probe into whether a casino flouted the enclave’s personal data protection law will be completed in the early part of 2013. The head of Macau’s Personal Data Protection Office told the press late last week that the investigation into the Venetian Macau’s will conclude in 2013. They relate to their conduct regarding documents they are accused of moving from Macau to the United States of America linked to a case being brought by former Sands China CEO Steve Jacobs where he accuses the company of wrongful dismissal. If guilty the group faces a fine of anything from MOP 8,000 and MOP 80,000 that, in all honesty, is about as effective as fining a professional football two weeks wages.
PokerStars Macau set new records for both attendees and prize money on the Asia Pacific Poker Tour’s latest stop in the enclave. The 2012 Asia Championship of Poker, at the Grand Waldo from October 26 to November 11, saw a total of 2,757 players and a total prize pool of HD$46.2 million (US$6m) – both records for the tour. The championship’s president Danny McDonagh admitted the player numbers were beyond our wildest expectations”. Chinese player Xing Zhou won the main event and the visitor numbers just go to show how popular poker is becoming in Asia.