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The Macau Metro Monitor, June 24,2011

FILM PRODUCTION 'MAJOR COMPONENT' OF STUDIO CITY Macau Daily Times

Macau Secretary for Transport and Public Works, Lau Si Io has said the Macao Studio City (MSC) project must comply with the 2001 Land Concession contract approved by the Macau government in 2008.  That plan does not contain any gaming elements but does contain hotels, restaurants, residential units, and a film production project, which is "a major component of the property."  However, the secretary has not disclosed whether MSC's developer has applied for gaming tables, stressing that any casino projects are required to meet the 2013 quota where gaming tables cannot exceed 5,500.  Lau confirmed that the government has received the application from the developer to resume construction.


MINISTER TOUCHES OFF DEBATE ON ALLOWING KOREANS INTO CASINOS Korea Herald

Korea Culture Minister Choung Byoung-gug said that it was time to consider allowing more casinos to admit local Koreans. Currently, only one casino, Kangwon Land in Gangwon Province, admits Koreans.  The government is seeking to allow casinos in the six FEZs (Free Economic Zones) and on Jeju Island to admit Korean nationals in a bid to attract more foreign investment and more tourists.  Under the current law on FEZs, a foreigner can open a casino in the FEZ if he/she invests more than $500MM there to run at least three different types of tourism businesses including a five-star hotel with an international convention center.

The Minister added that if the government decides to take the deregulatory step, facilities like those in Las Vegas--conventions, shopping malls, and entertainment--should be developed along with the casinos.  Choung reiterated that a comprehensive policy plan was required to meet new demands, referring to the deindustrialization in the historical southeastern city of Gyeongju and eastern mountain resort area of Seorak.  “I can clearly say that it is not right for a government to invest in casino businesses... The Korea Tourism Organization has begun reviewing whether to keep running Seven Luck casinos," said Choung.

10 out of 17 casinos in Korea are losing money.  The combined annual sales of the domestic casino industry, amount to 2.2 trillion won, and Kangwon Land accounts for more than half of it. The casino industry has long hoped for the government to lift the ban on Korean citizens’ access to casinos.  In addition, Choung would also like a study on whether to permit casinos on cruise ships.


CASINOS BOOST ADVERTISING SPENDING IN HONG KONG Macau Business

Galaxy Macau’s opening advertising campaign (HK$28MM) accounted for 57% of hotel advertising in Hong Kong in May.  It was the largest-recorded advertising campaign spending in Hong Kong for a casino hotel opening, beating the previous HK$13.12MM held by the Venetian.  MGM Macau (HK$11.23MM) came in 2nd, followed by Venetian Macau (HK$1.87MM), L'Arc (HK$1.03MM) and City of Dreams (HK$640,000).

Hong Kong tourists are the 2nd largest visitation segment to Macau.

LRT PHASE ONE TO COST MOP 11 BILLION Macau Daily Times

The Transportation Infrastructure Office (GIT) disclosed the budget for the 1st phase of the light rapid transit (LRT) project has increased 46% from the previous 2009 estimate to MOP 11BN.  GIT chief Lei Chan Tong said the higher estimate was a result of "inflation, rising currency exchange rate and continued optimisaztion/adjustments of route designs."