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The Macau Metro Monitor, October 31, 2012

CAESARS PACKS UP IN MACAU, LEAVING SPOILS TO ITS RIVALS WSJ

Caesars has finally pulled the plug on its failed China casino strategy.  Five years ago, CZR paid $578 million for a golf course in Macau, hoping to use the land for a casino in the industry's biggest growth market.  But Caesars still hasn't received permission to build the casino.  Last month, the company actively began trying to unload the money-losing golf course and leave Macau.  Steven Tight, the company's international executive, says Caesars doesn't have formal offers for the Macau property but there "has been a significant level of interest in the land from a number of potential buyers."

Even as Caesars backs out of Macau, executives say they aren't giving up on Asia.  Caesars is trying to win branding and management contracts for hotels without gambling in Asia—a strategy similar to that of rival MGM Resorts.  Caesars last year said it had a deal to manage a future hotel on China's Hainan island.  Tight says he expects to announce more deals soon.  A typical management contract for a large hotel could generate about $3 million to $5 million in revenue a year, he says.

Caesars also plans to apply for tentative government approval for a casino license in South Korea by early December.  

GALAXY ENTERTAINMENT PLANS ARENA IN COTAI Macau Business

Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd is planning to build a 10,000-seat area at Galaxy Macau in Cotai  The design plans are due to be submitted for government approval by late December.  The operator hopes to start construction next July.

This will be the third major indoor multi-use arena on Cotai, after the government’s 7,000-seat Macao Dome and the 15,000-seat CotaiArena at The Venetian Macao.  Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd is also planning to include a 5,000-seat multi-purpose entertainment studio in its Studio City casino resort.

RULES ARE OUT FOR CASINOS' SMOKING AREAS Macau Business

The rules for the setting up of smoking areas in casinos were gazetted yesterday.  The casino tobacco ban starts on January 1.  Casinos were offered a part-exemption from the ban because there was a fear that full prohibition would have a drastic, negative economic effect.

According to the rules published yesterday, existing casinos can use one of four options to separate smoking and non-smoking areas: four-metre wide transition areas, air curtain systems, two-metre high walls or special ventilation systems.  Casinos under construction or that have received construction approval are considered existing casinos.  New casinos will have to divide their gaming floor physically and have independent ventilation systems for smoking and non-smoking areas.  If casinos have more than one floor, smoking areas should be located on the upper levels.  Gaming operators must submit a floor plan to the chief executive including all the details on the smoking areas for evaluation and approval.

Although the rules don’t set any ratio for gaming tables between smoking and non-smoking areas, that will be taken into account while reviewing requests, according to the government.

SINGAPORE'S Q3 JOBLESS RATE REMAINS LOW, BUT EMPLOYMENT GROWTH SLOWS Channel News Asia

According to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Singapore's unemployment rate in 3Q stood at 1.9%, down from 2.0% in 2Q 2012 and 3Q 2011.  However, employment creation moderated in 3Q.  Preliminary estimates showed that total employment grew by 24,900, down from the increase of 31,900 in the same period last year, and 31,700 in 2Q 2012.