The Macau Metro Monitor, September 12, 2012




SJM CEO Ambrose So said, “The new arrangements (relaxation on entry permits by six cities) will bring additional visitors; I think the city can handle 30 million visitors. After 10 days of implementation, we see a slight increase of visitors, which benefits both the mass market and VIP sectors. But we need to see a more long-term trend to see the effects, we can't judge by a few days. It’s hard to find a formula to calculate the [relation between] visitor numbers and the increase in gaming revenues. There may be fewer people coming but they may be spending more. There’s no rush to see the impact of the single-digit growth (in visitor arrivals) forecast. We should get a better picture after one quarter."


Regarding the Sheraton opening next Thursday at SCC, So said it was only natural that Sands China’s market share would grow.  “Concern is one thing, but we have our own strategies,” So said, explaining that since the peninsula was more gaming-focused and Cotai was more resort-oriented, there was no direct competition between the two areas.  However, he admitted that SJM would have to “reposition” itself to meet the changes in customers’ expectations and gaming behavior when the company will have its property up and running in Cotai, possibly in three years’ time. 


So also thinks that China's 12th Five-Year Plan will bring more diversification to Macau.  “The Hengqin Island will bring an important support for the development of Macau’s non-gaming sectors so that tourists can stay longer,” he remarked.  With the construction of the Guangzhou-Macau train and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, he expects Macau to definitively become a center for world tourism. 


“We always have interests in parcels seven and eight in Taipa, but Sands is having some legal arrangements with the government now over the land”. He stated that within the gaming sector, “we have great advantages, because we know the market. We have close relationships with the government, we are local. Most tourists are from China, we know their taste. We can reposition ourselves when we build a new property in Cotai.”  However, he denied obtaining any advantages from the Las Vegas Sands’ lawsuit: “The only advantage that we have is not having any lawsuit.”  As to the planned casino in Taipa, he explained, “it will take at least two to three years before SJM's casino is built in Taipa; we're waiting for the details.”  So also sees no urgent need to employ foreign labor, mentioning that SJM has the highest rate of local employees in Macau at 95%.  



Resorts World Sentosa has been fined S$600,000, the highest single financial penalty imposed to date by the Casino Regulatory Authority (CRA), for partially reimbursing local casino patrons their annual entry levy.  TODAY first reported the CRA's probe against RWS over illegal reimbursements in July.  The CRA said in a statement today it received information from members of the public that they had received complimentary Universal Studios Singapore (USS) tickets when they renewed their annual entry levies.  CRA has referred the matter to the police's white collar crime unit, as the cases involved possible forgery, it said



MGM China co-chairwoman, Pansy Ho, said the company’s application for a piece of land in Cotai continues to go “smoothly”.  Ho added that MGM Cotai will have more non-gaming areas than MGM Macau.  Ho also admitted that, as other Asian jurisdictions legalize gaming or reinforce their bet on the industry, Macau is poised to face more regional competition.

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