Casino bosses and pro-Beijing candidates dominated poll results in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau, with democrats conceding defeat on Monday.  Preliminary election results showed democrats had secured just two out of the 14 directly-elected seats in the city's lawmaking body, down from three in the previous election in 2009.  A government spokesman told AFP that results would be validated in the next few days, with any appeals going to court.


A record 145 candidates were vying for seats, but turnout was down 5% on 2009 with around 152,000 voting, the government said.  The remaining 19 seats in the 33-strong legislature are either appointed by the chief executive -- who is selected by Beijing -- or chosen by business and industry groups.



MPEL subsidiary Mocha Clubs will shut two slot machine parlours on November 26, the Portuguese-language Jornal Tribuna de Macau reports.  MPEL CEO Lawrence Ho said the Mocha Hotel Taipa Best Western and the Mocha Lan Kwai Fong parlour would close.  The Mocha Marina Plaza parlour in the city centre would be moved.


A Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau spokesman said of the five slot parlours that must be relocated until November 26, only one Treasure Hunt Slot Lounge, run by SJM Holdings Ltd, has applied to suspend their operations.  New rules will permit parlours inside five-star hotels, within 500 metres of a casino or at resorts in less densely populated areas.




Visitors on the eight casino boats that leave Hong Kong each night rose 9% to 615,328 in 1H 2013, aiding operators such as Success Universe Group Ltd and Genting HK Ltd.  


“The cruise ship can be a good substitute for mainland tourists,” said Hoffman Ma, deputy chairman of Success Universe, which doubled profits from its casino ship to HK$2.15 million ($277,000) in 1H 2013.  Success Universe’s boat and other Hong Kong ships leave port late each evening, open their casinos once in international waters, and allow patrons to gamble through the night.  A big benefit is that the boats pay no taxes on their receipts, according to Success Universe, versus the 39% gaming levy paid on gross revenue by Macau’s casinos.


Rooms in Macau averaged $175 a night in July, according to the government, while a room on a Hong Kong casino boat can cost as little as HK$400 ($52).  Mainland tourists don’t need a separate visa to board the cruise ships once they are in Hong Kong, an added perk for affluent business people who want to stay under the radar.

Casino operators say they’re not worried about the competition.  The casino boats offer little in terms of dining and shopping and do a fraction of the business of Macau’s gambling industry.  Their impact “is minimal,” Ambrose So, SJM's CEO said.  “The pie is growing bigger and some money overflows there.”

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