Safe Harbour by shuifanglj

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									                                                     May 2010 • MOP 30 • ISSN 2070-7681




Safe Harbour
Michael Leven of LVS on Marina Bay Sands’ wow factor

Singapore in Focus: Crest of a Wave and Raising the Roof

Perfect Timing: Walker Digital Gaming | Encore at Wynn Macau: Core Values
Elegance vs. Opulence in Casino Design | Vietnam’s Long March
         CONTENTS
                May 2010

           Safe Harbour
     6 Crest of a Wave

     16 Safe Harbour

     22 Raising the Roof

     30 Perfect Timing

     32 Core Values

     34 Elegance vs. Opulence

     38 Vietnam’s Long March

     40 Weighing Angkor

     42 Sparkling Arrival

     44 Regional Briefs


38   46 International Briefs

     48 Events Calendar




                               30
2
3
Editorial


                                Marina Bay Sands
                                                   Many Happy Returns
                                                        Are Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS) and Genting and its consortium partners going to lose money
                                                   on their respective Singapore casino resorts? It’s unlikely. The issue then is how much they will make
                                                   and how quickly.
                                                        LVS has, typically, set its stall out early and very clearly. It plans to achieve a 20% return on investment
                                                   (ROI) annually on total capital invested at Marina Bay Sands. That means it would achieve project payback
                                                   in five years (subject to any future decision to reschedule debt that it might attempt should business
                                                   conditions change).
                                                        Broadly speaking, annual ROI rates for new casino projects in Asia have been falling—in part as a
                                                   function of rising supply, but also as a function of ever-larger amounts being spent on building them.
                                                        Marina Bay Sands cost US$5.7 billion. LVS’s first-ever foreign casino, Sands Macao, cost 21 times less
                                                   at US$265 million. Sands Macao took less than one year to achieve payback. MBS—in order to achieve its
                                                   ROI target and assuming it is basing its ROI calculations on net earnings rather than on EBITDA—will have
                                                   to generate at least US$95 million net per month. That’s the equivalent of US$3.12 million net per day.
                                                   Sands Macao only needed to earn US$726,000 net per day to reach payback—even in such a short time.
                                                        Of course, MBS and Sands Macao are different types of product in different markets, launched at
                Publisher
                                                   different times. Sands Macao’s stratospheric performance is never likely to be repeated in Asia, or
              Kareem Jalal                         anywhere else for that matter. It was an overnight hit because it was Macau’s first truly mass market, Las
                                                   Vegas style plain vanilla casino, and in stark contrast to SJM’s VIP-focused operation. The Sands opening
              Director                             also crucially coincided with mainland China’s easing of travel restrictions on its citizens wishing to visit
        João Costeira Varela                       Macau, supplying a flood of new demand.
                                                        Anyone wanting a Singapore casino licence was always going to have to spend big on non-gaming
                Editor                             facilities. The boosting of Singapore’s tourism infrastructure was the key requirement of the government
            Michael Grimes                         in granting concessions. The good news is that Singapore’s lower gaming tax take (15% of the gross on
                                                   the mass market and 5% on VIP play, plus Goods and Services Tax at 7% on both segments) and the
                                                   greater per capita GDP of Singapore and Malaysia compared to the per capita GDP in Macau’s hinterland,
  Business Development Manager
                                                   mainland China, should contribute to a better yield per customer and better margins than can be
        Domingos Abecasis                          achieved in Macau. That’s even taking into account Singapore’s higher wage rates and the absence of
                                                   high volume junket play.
              Contributors
     Desmond Lam, Steve Karoul                     Too Much Too Young?
   I. Nelson Rose, Richard Marcus                       A lot can happen in five years, inside and outside Singapore. So for LVS to start talking about
      Shenée Tuck, James J. Hodl                   expanding into Japan when the performance of its Singapore IR hasn’t yet been calibrated may seem
         Andrew MacDonald                          even to those investors without elephantine memories at best ambitious and at worst chutzpah—as
         William R. Eadington                      if the warning issued by the company’s auditors back in November 2008 regarding LVS’s existence as a
                                                   going concern had never happened.
           Graphic Designer                             The history of capitalism—especially the North American, heavily leveraged kind—is that you
             Brenda Chao                           need to keep moving and growing. That does, however, create inherent structural challenges and risks
                                                   including the possibility of over extension and liquidity problems—as was dramatically illustrated in
                                                   LVS’s case following the global financial crisis of 2008.
              Photography
                                                        Given the still delicate state of global capital markets, there might be some who think it would be best
                  Ike                              for LVS to make its current assets sweat a bit more before thinking about acquiring new ones. Members
                                                   of the Macau government probably fall into that group. The underperforming Macau conference market
        Inside Asian Gaming                        and the metaphorical tumbleweed often blowing through Venetian Macao’s Cotai Expo facility is a case
            is published by                        in point. Another is LVS’s failure so far to deliver on its often-repeated promise to ‘monetise’ its retail real
    Must Read Publications Ltd                     estate on Cotai.
       8J Ed. Comercial Si Toi                          Were LVS to step up its efforts to make its existing Macau assets work harder, it could actually be
   619 Avenida da Praia Grande                     an important hedge against the proven volatility of the Macau gaming market—a volatility everyone
                Macau                              conveniently tends to ignore or downplay during a bull market.
                                                        That apparently inherent volatility relates to several factors. One is the underlying character of
         Tel: (853) 2832 9980
                                                   Chinese-style capitalism as practised initially in Hong Kong and now exported to mainland China.
                                                   For decades, Hong Kong’s economy has been a boom-bust roller coaster unrestrained by the kind
      For subscription enquiries,                  of welfare state safety net policies practised in much of the West. Macau’s gaming market has
            please email                           traditionally tracked the highs and lows of the Hong Kong economy, which for years supplied most
          subs@asgam.com                           of the players. Now that mainland China is the biggest supplier of customers to Macau, new political
                                                   considerations have come into play. These include the central government’s need to control credit
      For advertising enquiries,                   issuance and to maintain social harmony by protecting its own citizens from what it recognises is their
            please email                           near pathological obsession with gambling.
          ads@asgam.com                                 Talk is of course cheap regarding LVS’s expansion into Japan. Despite media speculation, that
                                                   country seems no nearer to legalising casino gaming now than it has been at any time in the preceding
       or call: (853) 6646 0795
                                                   decade. Political and administrative inertia—the two diseases that have caused the Japanese economy
                                                   nearly to flatline for the best part of two decades after spectacular post-war growth—show no signs of
        www.asgam.com                              relinquishing their grip.
                                                        The conservatism and caution often exercised by Japanese companies may account for why they
        Inside Asian Gaming                        have a reputation for doing deals at or near the top of the market in the merger and acquisition sector.
       is an official media partner of:            That’s probably why in 1995, a certain Japanese company called SOFTBANK Corporation paid Interface
                                                   Group-Nevada Inc, run by Sheldon G. Adelson Esq., an impressive US$800 million for the latter’s Comdex
                                                   trade show and portfolio of 16 smaller exhibitions—at the very moment that revenue from Comdex
                                                   shows peaked. It was that deal that set Mr Adelson on the path to becoming a global developer and
                                                   operator of casino resorts. This time, it may be the Japanese who see him coming.
                                                                                                                                                  Michael Grimes
    http://www.gamingstandards.com                                                      We crave your feedback. Please email your comments to michael@asgam.com
4 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
5
Crest of a
Marina Bay Sands




Wave
Marina Bay Sands is catching an historic tide in
gaming, say its creators




“W
                e hope Resorts World does             But from an investors’ perspective, no
                well. I think they’re aiming at   one is in any doubt that the engine that
                a different market level than     drives this whole enterprise—an engine so
we’re aiming at. Our success doesn’t depend       big that if it could be represented in literal
on their failure. Neither does their success      form in old fashioned pistons and valves, it
depend on our failure. I’m of the opinion         probably wouldn’t even fit inside the huge
that we should work together to bring in          atrium at the main entrance of the MBS
more and better quality and quantity of           property—is casino gaming by gambling-
customers to Singapore.”                          obsessed Asian players.
    So said Sheldon Adelson, Chairman and
Chief Executive of Las Vegas Sands Corp           Upward and onward
(LVS), at the opening of his US$5.7 billion           Wherever casino gaming is legal in
Marina Bay Sands integrated gaming resort         Asia, regulators indicate an upward trend
in Singapore.                                     in revenue, supported by GDP growth
    Mr Adelson is justifiably proud of the        well ahead of the Western economies. The
gaming, tourism and meeting amenities             most famous and high profile example
that will be available at his new property        of Asia’s gaming growth is Macau. Gross
when it is fully open in the second half of the   gaming revenue there grew 70% year on
year. They include 2,560 luxury hotel rooms       year in April.
and suites, 800,000 square feet of shops, 50          If LVS follows the financing pattern          Sheldon G. Adelson
restaurants, two theatres, 1.3 million square     established in Macau, don’t be surprised—
feet of convention space and the much             subject, no doubt, to Singapore                   stated Mr Adelson just before the opening
talked about Sands SkyPark. The SkyPark,          government approval—to see a listing of a         ceremony for MBS.
will sit atop the three-tower hotel, making       local LVS unit for Marina Bay Sands on the             “When the tide goes up, it carries all
the complete hotel structure look like a giant    Singapore stock exchange approximately            boats. When the tide goes down, it carries
version of those cast iron boot scrapers seen     one year to 18 months on from the full            all boats. So nobody gets stuck outside the
on doorsteps outside townhouses in the            opening of the property in June.                  movement of the tide. Nobody gets stuck
grander parts of New York or London.                  “I believe we are participating in a tide,”   in the air, nobody gets stuck under water.

6 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
May 2010 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING   7
8 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
                                                                                                                           Marina Bay Sands




Everybody goes up and down together.”             middle. It’s too early to tell exactly”.            ultimately the business success of the whole
    That may be true, but it’s likely                                                                 scheme and of Singapore’s IR experiment.
that in strict gross revenue terms,               Forecasts                                           That’s why most of the MBS casino opened on
gaming’s contribution to MBS will be                  Nonetheless, the annual revenue from            27th April, but some of the shops, the museum
proportionately smaller than gaming’s             Singapore’s two casino resorts forecast by          and some of the conference facilities did not.
contribution to the LVS operation in high-        analysts (anywhere from US$2.5 billion                  Elsewhere in this edition, Michael
roller focused Macau.                             to US$5 billion per year, from most recent          Leven, Mr Adelson’s right hand man as
    “In Las Vegas, the casino contributes         estimates) is what created the leverage to          President and Chief Operating Officer of
30% to the bottom line,” Mr Adelson told the      raise the cash (US$3.6 billion of it in loans and   LVS, makes the point explicitly to Inside
assembled media on MBS’s opening day.             US$2.1 in equity) to build such an ambitious        Asian Gaming that the sort of infrastructure
    “In Macau, it contributes between             project in the first place. Revenue from the        provided by the company’s resorts simply
70% and 75% to the bottom line. Here in           casino is what will decide the rate of return       cannot be sustained without casino
Singapore, it should be somewhere in the          on investment on Marina Bay Sands, and              gambling being in the mix.


                                                      New Package
                   Marina Bay Sands offers a very different perspective on an existing
                                        integrated resort idea

W      hat has Marina Bay Sands brought to
       Singapore, Asia and the rest of the
world? The business aim of the property
                                                  on their sides, hence the local nickname ‘The
                                                  Durian’ or ‘Big Durian’. Marina Bay Sands
                                                  believes it is competing in that territory, and
                                                                                                           Watching Mr Adelson perform his
                                                                                                      opening act before the assembled world
                                                                                                      media, his sense of personal pride in MBS
may be very similar to that of The Venetian       it is hard to argue against its aspirations.        and his aspiration to be taken seriously as
Macao—a one stop shop for every                                                                       an all round resort developer certainly came
conceivable kind of legal entertainment—                                                              across. Why else would LVS go to the trouble
but the execution is quite different.                                                                 and expense of installing a work by the iconic
    The first thing to say is that in look and                                                        British sculptor Anthony Gormley in full
atmosphere—inside as well as out—MBS                                                                  view of the main city side entrance to MBS?
is very different to The Venetian. Some                                                               This is Mr Adelson’s post modern answer to
may say hallelujah for that, though IAG did                                                           Steve Wynn hanging the odd Renoir or two
notice that in the heart of the MBS property,                                                         in the entrance to his properties. But Mr
beneath the tiered walkways of shops, there                                                           Adelson’s set dressing gesture feels less like
is a (currently waterless) canal. It seems                                                            showboating, given that Mr Gormley’s work
some ideas are just too precious to be let go                                                         is integrated into the property rather than
of easily.                                                                                            placed as an afterthought.
    From a purely real estate perspective, we     Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay
have a property that is significantly different       Mr Adelson says his architect, Moshe            MICE work
from not only other casino resorts that           Safdie, has given him three iconic buildings            For analysts of the so-called MICE
have been built around the world, but also        in one project—the hotel towers and                 (meetings, incentives, conferences and
to anything that’s been built in Singapore        SkyPark; the upturned, Buddha-like ‘hand’ or        exhibitions) market, LVS has produced a list
so far. Yet it’s also a property that has been    lotus design of the still-under-construction        of events it says have already been signed
clearly moulded in Singapore’s image of           museum, and the towering atrium space of            up for MBS’s Sands Expo and Convention
itself as a sophisticated world city, inhabited   the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. The LVS            Center. Given the so far patchy performance
by people who are generally well educated         Chairman added, as a joke, that he hoped his        of the MICE business at The Venetian Macao,
and know the difference between Berlin            comments wouldn’t lead Mr Safdie to push            sector commentators will be interested to
Dada and Lady Gaga.                               his price up threefold.                             find out if the ‘Build it and they will come’
                                                                                                      approach applied to Singapore will inject
Making a statement                                                                                    fresh energy into the city-state’s conference
    The number of iconic buildings in Hong                                                            market and create sustainable fresh demand
Kong can probably be counted on the fingers                                                           for its services as a regional destination for
of both hands, if not one hand. Most of the                                                           big meetings.
skyscrapers in Hong Kong are fairly dreary                                                                “We’ve put together our development
up-and-down rent-generating machines.                                                                 programme and operation with the belief
Singapore has plenty of those, but it also has                                                        that we will get in excess of 70,000 to
some really memorable historic buildings                                                              80,000 people coming per day to Marina
and some impressive modern structures                                                                 Bay Sands,” stated Tom Arasi, President and
including Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay,        Artist’s impression of Sands Expo and               Chief Executive Officer of MBS, ahead of the
the roofs of which resemble giant fruit laying    Convention Center                                   opening ceremony.
                                                                                                                                                   9
 Marina Bay Sands




                                                                                  The Engine Room
                                                              An in-depth look at Marina Bay Sands’ gaming offer



                   H    ow many of
                        Marina        Bay
                   Sands’ expected 80,000 daily
                                                     independent with [operator] credit, as
                                                     opposed to the junket situation. From an
                                                     economic standpoint, assuming our [VIP]
                                                                                                       importance of Singapore customers to the
                                                                                                       MBS business model.
                                                                                                             “Singapore is absolutely the most vital
                  visitors will be supplying         process works, it’s more profitable on the        market for us, but it’s clearly not the only
                 the financial fuel for the MBS      margin than the junket play, which requires       market,” stated Mr Adelson at the main press
               engine room, the casino? There        higher commission rates. We never expected        conference.
             is a Paiza Club for high rollers,       that the Macau-style junket play would be               “The surrounding countries of Malaysia,
          just as in The Venetian Macao. At the      licensed under the Singapore regulations.”        Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam; parts of China;
      media event for the opening, we were                Mr Leven is clearly closer to the process    from Australia, Korea, Japan and Taiwan.
 not shown that facility, which could be for any     and the government decision makers                These are all in our markets. We have MICE
 number of reasons—including LVS not giving          than the gaming industry media, but it is         business coming from other parts of the
 priority to VIP play in its business model,         difficult to see how LVS and Genting could        world outside of Asia.”
 unlike in Macau.                                    be anything other than disappointed, even               Singapore is home to a lot of rich people.
     “As we said several months ago, we              if not surprised, that high volume (albeit        According to the World Wealth Report 2008
 intend to run this casino without dependence        low margin) junket play has effectively been      produced by Merrill Lynch, an investment
 on the Macau junket style of operations,”           ruled out by the toughness of the financial       bank, and Capgemini, a consultancy, there
 said LVS President and Chief Operating              reporting conditions and probity checks           were 77,000 US dollar millionaires resident
 Officer Michael Leven at the opening press          required by the Singapore government.             in the Lion City in 2007 out of a then total
 conference.                                                                                           population of 4.59 million. Although it’s
     “We would run this [casino] business            Importance of being local                         reasonable to assume the number of
 [at MBS] quite similarly to the way we run             Mr Leven and Mr Adelson both went              millionaire residents may have fallen since
 Las Vegas in terms of high quality VIP play         on record on the opening day stating the          the financial crisis of September 2008, that’s
                                                                                                       still a good sized domestic target market for a
                                                                                                       casino. But how many of them will be willing
                                                                                                       or able to play in the IR casinos is open to
                                                                                                       question. There are some other regulatory
                                                                                                       issues aside from the tough junket rules that
                                                                                                       could put a crimp even in the direct credit
                                                                                                       VIP play model.

                                                                                                       Section 108(7)(a) of Casino Control Act
                                                                                                       states: “……a casino operator or a licensed
                                                                                                       junket promoter may provide chips on
                                                                                                       credit to a person:
                                                                                                       (a) who is not a citizen or permanent
                                                                                                           resident of Singapore (as defined in
                                                                                                           section 116(9) or
                                                                                                       (b) who is a premium player.”

                                                                                                           A premium player is described under
                                                                                                       Part I (3)1 of the Casino Control Act (Credit)
                                                                                                       Regulations 2010 as someone of whom:
                                                                                                           “….the total amount of money, chips or
                                                                                                       any cheque or traveller’s cheque credited to
                                                                                                       the patron’s deposit account in accordance
                                                                                                       with paragraph (2) is not less than $100,000
                                                                                                       [Singapore].”
                                                                                                           In other words, Singapore citizens
 Singapore’s tough rules on junkets mean MBS will need to use Las Vegas style direct credit for high   and permanent residents can play as high
 roller play                                                                                           rollers and attract the lower tax rate on
10 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
May 2010 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING   11
 Marina Bay Sands




                                                                                                  Wiggle room
                                                                                                      “In theory, that could make Singapore’s
                                                                                                  premium offer very competitive with Macau.
                                                                                                  Outside of high quality accommodation,
                                                                                                  premium player ‘comps’ as understood
                                                                                                  in Las Vegas hardly exist in the Macau
                                                                                                  VIP segment. The junkets in Macau need
                                                                                                  to make their margin. Junkets in Macau
                                                                                                  generally incentivise players by offering cash
                                                                                                  commissions on the players’ volume of play,
                                                                                                  rather than other value added services.
                                                                                                      “The problem I see for premium play
                                                                                                  in Singapore is that even on a direct
                                                                                                  credit basis, many players may be put off
                                                                                                  because of the depth of scrutiny they will
 Entry to the MBS casino—one door for Singaporeans, one for foreigners
                                                                                                  be subjected to by the authorities. And the
 their gross of 5% (plus 7% GST) if they               taking of extracts from them and the       direct player pool is already relatively small
 physically check in S$100,000 and above               making copies of them; and                 given that so many Asian VIP customers are
 in cash, but they cannot play on a credit         (b) furnish to the Authority all such          basically controlled by junkets.
 basis—even if that credit is supplied                 information as the Authority may require       “I think the strong market for top end
 directly by the casino as a marker.                   in connection with any such records.”      business in Singapore is going to be Malaysia,
                                                                                                  and to a degree Indonesia. The question
 Scrutiny                                              In other words, it appears the reporting   mark is how much Genting will soften up
     Even if a Singapore citizen or permanent      requirements for direct players—whether        in the face of competition from MBS in that
 resident were to check in cash for high roller    on a cash check in or cheque deposit           premium segment.”
 play, it appears from the local law that his or   basis—are potentially as onerous (in terms         The source suggested players from
 her casino transaction records would need         of the Singapore authorities looking into      mainland China were virtually ruled out
 to be submitted to the Casino Regulatory          people’s personal backgrounds) as are the      because of the absence so far of junkets.
 Authority for scrutiny.                           regulations for junkets and junket players.        “If it’s an overseas direct player, the
                                                   This would probably also rule out many high    casino has got to be able to collect, and as
 According to part 3 Section 11(2a) of the         rollers from mainland China—even on a          we know, you can’t collect a gambling debt
 Casino Control (Credit) Regulations 2010,         direct credit basis.                           in China,” stated the insider.
 “A casino operator or a licensed junket               “Given that VIP tax in Singapore is            “A Singaporean gambler who wants
 promoter shall, whenever requested by             half the mass gaming tax, the casinos in       to come in and play for high stakes at the
 the Authority to do so:                           Singapore have in theory seven and a half      casinos in Singapore is going to be subject
 (a) produce to the Authority all records          percent to play with, which they can use for   to financial reporting requirements
     referred to in paragraph (1) and permit       promotions with VIP players,” suggested an     as well, which he or she may not be
     the examination of those records, the         industry source.                               comfortable with.”


                                                            High Mass
                             The main floor could be the key to MBS’s gaming success

 I f premium play is not going to be the
   powerhouse of the gaming operation in
 Singapore that it is in Macau, what about the
 mass floor at MBS? In appearance, the main
 floor owes much to the stadium-style gaming
 space created by Paul Steelman at Sands
 Macao, with its concentric rings of balconies
 looking down into the ‘cockpit’ of the table
 gaming area. At around 161,000 square feet,
 the MBS main casino floor is more spacious
 than that of Sands Macao, though according
 to the company MBS will (initially at least)
 have fewer tables—600-plus compared to
 Sands Macao’s 740. MBS is also scheduled to       The casino main floor at MBS

12 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
May 2010 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING   13
                                                                                                        “The bigger slot clubs in Singapore
                                                                                                    were producing house win per unit per day
                                                                                                    of US$2,000 on a return to player (RTP) of
                                                                                                    only 82%,” says one source familiar with
                                                                                                    that sector.
                                                                                                        “Anecdotally, I’ve heard some machines
                                                                                                    at Resorts World Sentosa have been doing
                                                                                                    [win of ] US$1,800 per day,” adds the insider.
                                                                                                        Mr Adelson may be correct in saying
                                                                                                    the Singapore IR market is not a zero sum
                                                                                                    game involving one resort succeeding on
                                                                                                    the failure of the other. It’s difficult, however,
                                                                                                    to see how Singapore’s casino resorts can
  Sands Macao’s main gaming area                                                                    succeed in the slot segment without that
                                                                                                    success coming at the expense of the city-
  have 1,500-plus slot machines, compared to                                                        state’s slot clubs.
  Sands Macao’s 1,250.
      Tom Arasi, President and Chief Executive                                                      Return to player
  Officer of MBS, said at a press conference                                                            Return to player percentage on slots
  that the property is concentrating initially                                                      in the Singapore IRs has been set by law
  on the proven most popular table games in                                                         at 90% of theoretical win [according to
  Asia and Southeast Asia.                                                                          the Casino Control (Gaming Equipment)
      “We decided to stick with the six or eight                                                    Regulations 2009]. In the slot clubs, the
  major games,” said Mr Arasi.                                                                      existing tax burden forces the clubs to run
      “We made sure our people were well                                                            at 82% RTP, say industry sources. An RTP of
  trained on those games. We wanted to make                                                         82% makes it hard for club players to have
  sure the staff were quite focused before we                                                       much fun or even gambling entertainment.
  got into some of the more speciality gaming                                                       In fact, the Singapore slot club RTP is so
  tables and devices.”                                                                              low it would actually be illegal in some
                                                                                                    other gaming jurisdictions such as New
  Old favourites                                                                                    South Wales in Australia.
      It appears from IAG’s brief visit to the                                                          Previously, Singapore slot players had
  main floor that the table games are mainly                                                        no alternative. Now, with the advent of the
  given over to the two workhorses of Asian                                                         Singapore IRs they clearly do have a choice,
  table play—baccarat and blackjack—with                                                            and one offering the very latest machines
                                                   Thomas Arasi
  smaller representation from other games                                                           and the latest and most plush décor and
  popular in Southeast Asia, including roulette    that mass-market tables will be the main         amenities. One interesting question is
  and sic bo.                                      revenue earner at MBS. But it does hint at       whether those local slot club players will
      Minimum table bets on the main floor         the fact that Singapore, unlike Macau pre        decide it is worth paying a daily entry fee
  when we visited appeared to be set at S$50.      market liberalisation, does already have a       of S$100 (or annual fee of S$2,000) to get
  That’s the equivalent at current exchange        base of players well educated in slot products   access to the better product and better
  rates of HK$280, and therefore 40% higher        thanks to Singapore’s slot clubs sector.         RTP at the IRs. An industry source with
  than the minimum bet typically seen on the                                                        knowledge of both segments gave IAG a
  main floor in many Macau casinos. Minimum        Club’s house win                                 perspective on this.
  bets are of course only a rough guide for            According to industry sources, some              “If you sit at a machine for a couple of
  predicting mass floor revenue, given that        of the bigger slot clubs in Singapore were       hours, and take S$100 to gamble with, you’ll
  casino managements can use back of house         regularly producing house win equivalent         find if you’re in a [Singapore slot] club, you’ll
  and tableside technology to adjust instantly     to US$2,000 per machine per day prior to         have lost it after a couple of hours. In either
  their minimum bet levels in line with peak or    the opening of the integrated resorts (IRs).     of the casinos, you’ll still have 50 bucks left.
  quiet periods on the floor.                      The only regional gaming market IAG is           That’s the best way of comparing the slot
      If anecdotal reports of the early            aware of that can beat that is Vietnam,          clubs and the casinos.”
  performance of Resorts World Sentosa are a       where some machines have been known                  So the message seems to be that the
  guide, it seems slots are likely to be a much    to bring in US$3,000 per day. Such a high        longer a local Singapore slot player wishes
  bigger component of gross gaming revenue         house win per day can be a function of low       to play for entertainment purposes, the
  in Singapore than they are in Macau (where       machine numbers rather than necessarily          more likely they are to opt to pay the entry
  they currently contribute around 5.5% of the     high consumer demand. It certainly               fee at the casinos. At the IRs, the players get
  gross). This isn’t necessarily at odds with Mr   suggests a market capable of supporting          not only newer machines, but also more
  Leven’s suggestion in our interview with him     more slot product.                               options to play more lines.
14 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
                                                                                                                         Marina Bay Sands




                                                                                                    much lower tax rate (15% gaming tax in the
                                                                                                    mass segment plus 7% Goods and Services
                                                                                                    Tax, versus Macau’s 39% on the gross), it’s
                                                                                                    not hard to see how Singapore’s IRs can
                                                                                                    potentially produce a better yield per slot
                                                                                                    player despite the higher wage costs and
                                                                                                    general overheads associated with doing
                                                                                                    business in Singapore.
                                                                                                        ‘There are a lot of two cent machines in
                                                                                                    the Singapore IRs,” says the industry source.
                                                                                                        “A 50-line two-cent machine means a
                                                                                                    [Singapore] dollar bet. That’s the equivalent
                                                                                                    of more than five Hong Kong dollars, which
                                                                                                    in Macau would be approaching the VIP slot
                                                                                                    market segment.

                                                                                                    Common denominations
                                                                                                        “At Genting [RWS], you have 100-lines
                                                                                                    games from Aristocrat and you’ve got 50-
                                                                                                    line bets for everybody else. The 100-line
                                                                                                    games are not super popular in RWS at
Slot machines in Macau come in denominations as low as HK$0.02. The lowest in Singapore is
14 times more, and equivalent to HK$0.28                                                            the moment. The 50-line games are, and
                                                                                                    the low-denomination is at the moment
    “What they’re used to if they’re Singapore   90% RTP. That can be a combination of a            dominating—that means under ten
slot club players is a very tough 82% RTP        machine and a link. But it has to be overall       [Singapore] cents (HK$0.28). The five- and
with five line games, nine lines maximum         a return [to the player] theoretically on the      two-cent games are, I think, going to be the
bets,” the industry source tells IAG.            machine of 90%.”                                   winners [in Singapore],” explains the insider.
                                                     In Macau, low denomination machines                “Now two casinos are there, overnight
Tax issues                                       are available in as little as HK$0.02 or HK$0.01   the club industry has fallen from 100% of
    “The way the tax on club gaming              multiples in some casinos. That doesn’t            the market to 35% of the market, though
is structured, the clubs can’t make any          even register on the scale in Singapore            admittedly the market itself is also growing.
money unless they set the RTP at 82%.            dollar terms. In the Singapore IRs, the            By this time next year, the club market share
What the players are getting [in the IRs] is     lowest denominations are typically S$0.05          could be as low as 25%.
an RTP set at 90% minimum, with 25, 50           to S$0.10. That’s equivalent to HK$0.28 to             “I think by the third quarter this year,
and 100 lines. The casinos in Singapore are      HK$0.56 per bet. Given the differential on         the Singapore casinos will start to see
not allowed to operate their games under         currency exchange rates and Singapore’s            momentum really taking off.”




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                                                                                                                   May 2010 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING   15
 Cover Story




                                    Safe Harbour
       Michael Leven of LVS tells IAG why he thinks Marina Bay Sands will be a big success




 A
        mid the justifiable razzamatazz surrounding the opening of
        the ambitious and impressive Marina Bay Sands integrated
        gaming resort in Singapore, there’s a multi-billion dollar
 question. How big is the Singapore gaming market going to be?
     Elsewhere in this edition, CLSA Asia Pacific Markets, an
 independent brokerage and investment group, offers its latest
 assessment on the city-state’s new casino market.
     Here, Inside Asian Gaming gives the perspective of a key member
 of the Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS) leadership masterminding the
 company’s expansion into Singapore.
     Michael Leven, President and Chief Operating Officer of LVS,
 spoke about Singapore gaming revenue, the thorny question of
 table quota in Macau, and about the company’s aspirations for an
 integrated resort (IR) in Japan.

 Inside Asian Gaming: What’s your anticipated return on
 investment for the Marina Bay Sands project?
     Michael Leven: Our expectations are to get at least a 20%
 return on investment [per year]. The investment is US$5.7 billion,
 so that’s US$1.14 billion a year over a five-year period to achieve
 payback. There are various ways of looking at return on investment.
 If you want to dig into it, and to look at our return on equity, we
 had US$3.6 billion of financing, and we put up US$2.1 billion dollars
 [equity]. So a 20% return on equity would only be US$450 million a
 year, roughly. We prefer to look at the return on total investment.

 Do you anticipate most of that return coming from the
 tables?
      I think initially most of our return will come from the tables.    Michael Leven

16 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
                                                                                                                                    Cover Story




I think over a five year period, there’ll be a flattening out of that     a soft opening. We knew that if we made the April 27th date,
[table] return. I think one of the things that most of the financial      we would be able to have a hard opening on 23rd of June. But
people seem to be missing is how great this facility will be in its       part of the [MBS] product—for example the Louis Vuitton Crystal
totality. They’re focusing primarily on the gaming based upon             Pavilion—will not be finished until February [2011]. But if you
Macau-type numbers. I think over time what will be proven is that         don’t start, and you don’t set a date, you really never get going.
there will be an equalisation of gaming revenue to hotel, MICE            If you waited to finish everything [before opening] you wouldn’t
[meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions], entertainment        get there.
and shopping revenue. Shopping is going to be a big area here
in Singapore. Actually, I’m referring to an equalisation of income,
rather than revenue. The revenue from gaming is much higher
and the margin of profit is less. I think the equalisation on income
[gaming to non-gaming] will come maybe by the time we reach
year three [of MBS operation].

What do you think the size of the gaming market is going
to be in Singapore? Your chairman, Sheldon Adelson, said
he thought a figure quoted recently for Resorts World
Sentosa of US$3 million per day gaming revenue for RWS
was incorrect. How far out do you think that figure is?
     The numbers we are getting out of Genting’s operation [RWS]
so far are pure observation numbers. One of the frightening things
for me is that people have talked about win per [slot] unit per day
in the area of US$1,000 to US$1,100 dollars per slot machine. That’s
significantly higher than anything that anyone’s ever seen in the
gaming business—and win per unit on the tables estimated at               The Louis Vuitton Crystal Pavillion will open in early 2011
US$5,000 to US$6,000 per unit per day. Nobody’s estimating the VIP,
because we don’t know what’s going on in there.
     Tom [Arasi, President and CEO of Marina Bay Sands] mentioned
to me the other day that the estimate on slots has come down to
about US$800. That’s still an unbelievable size number, and no one
knows the sustainability and how deep the market is of that kind of
play. It’s really too early to tell.
     Analysts have estimated the total [annual] gaming market
for both us and Genting at anywhere from three to five billion US
dollars—I’ve maybe seen a low of US$2.5 billion. But it’s such a
hypothetical; I don’t know where they get numbers from, because
it’s never happened here before. When I ask them the question
where they’re getting their estimates, it seems they talk to some
of our gaming people. The people that deal in the VIP market,
they’re excited, but they’re sales people. In general they exaggerate
everything—and sometimes they’re right!
     Even when the gaming revenue [statistics from the Casino
Regulatory Authority] comes out in May for the first quarter, it’s
going to be inflated by Chinese New Year dramatically. That sends
the numbers way up both here and in Macau.
     We really won’t know until Genting is open about six months
and then we’re open for six months. Genting doesn’t have all the
tables open. We’re going to have a significant amount of our tables,
but not quite all of them. But we’ll have a higher percentage of our
tables open [in the first six months] than them.
     The question is a very good question, but it’s really too early to
answer with certainty.

Why did you decide to have your soft opening on 27th
April? Were there any covenants on an opening date from
lenders or was there any pressure from the markets?
   We decided a couple of months ago that April 27th was the
date, in order to provide a target for everybody to shoot at as
                                                                                                                    May 2010 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING   17
 Cover Story




 How important will Marina Bay Sands be in terms of its
 contribution to your global operation?
      Marina Bay Sands will be the most important product in our
 system, although it doesn’t have the amount of [hotel] rooms that
 [our] Las Vegas [offer] has. From a financial investment as well as a
 return on investment standpoint, Singapore should be the largest
 [operation] in the company.
      When Singapore is open and mature, about 85% of our EBITDA
 [earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation]
 for the company will come from Asia—that is, Macau and Singapore.
 Only 15% will come from the United States.
      The major market for Singapore is Singapore itself from an
 integrated resort standpoint. From a casino standpoint, Indonesia
 and Malaysia will be the second most important markets. A little
 bit after that would probably come India, Hong Kong. We are not
 targeting mainland Chinese. There will be some tourism business
                                                                         The Macau government announced a 5,500 table cap limit in March
 [from China]. The tour business has increased in Singapore from
 mainland China, but it [that business] would not necessarily be a       other facilities until we get the tables in 2013. In other words,
 gaming target. As the middle class in China grows, there may be         we will use some tables we currently have that are not being
 some visitation from China.                                             maximised.

 Do you anticipate having the gaming industry trade                      Do you have any further ambitions in Asia?
 show G2E Asia at MBS?                                                        Our first target really now is Japan. The press has said that
 I haven’t heard anything about the possibility of that. Actually        Japan is considering seriously building an integrated resort. We
 we’d probably like them to stay in [The Venetian] Macau. I don’t        have visited both Tokyo and Osaka, and contacted people on the
 think we’ll need it here. Macau right now is a little slower on the     ground there.
 MICE. It’s still getting out of the ‘blocks’. But G2E Asia might come        If there is hope Japan will do it, we believe it will be done on an
 here one day.                                                           integrated resort basis in Tokyo or Osaka or possibly Okinawa, which
                                                                         is not really our target, but the first two are.
                                                                              I said to Mr Adelson recently: ‘I think we ought to spend all
                                                                         our time on Japan right now and not diversify our effort [away
                                                                         from Asia].
                                                                              There have been some inquiries from [South] Korea. Korea is
                                                                         a little bit more difficult because they do not allow locals in all
                                                                         but one casino. We would not do an integrated resort if locals are
                                                                         not allowed, even if there has to be a fee [for entry] as with the
                                                                         Singapore model. That model, with a fee payable by locals [for
                                                                         casino entry], would be the model we would propose if we went
                                                                         into Korea.
                                                                              Also the tax rates in Korea are a little egregious for gaming. They
                                                                         would need to be modified [from the LVS perspective]. Korea would
                                                                         like to have an integrated resort, but you can’t support our kind of
                                                                         integrated resort there [with the no locals rule].
                                                                              We have a delegation coming in from Korea for the grand opening
                                                                         of Marina Bay Sands on 23rd June.

 A hotel suite at Marina Bay Sands                                       There’s been talk about Japan legalising casino gaming
                                                                         for at least the last ten years. There’s no guarantee the
 I want to turn now to Macau and Cotai plots five and                    government will do so. Could you do a Japanese resort
 six. Mr Adelson has told us that you are going to get the               without gaming?
 workers you need for Cotai five and six. But will you get                   You can’t support our sort of infrastructure without a gaming
 all the tables you need?                                                base of revenue. Mr Adelson’s proposal is that the gaming allows you
     The conversation with the [Macau] government at this point is       to build the other facilities. To wait for the MICE business to mature
 that we’re guaranteed a certain amount of the tables we need to         and to wait for the transient business to mature is something you just
 open, and the maximum amount of tables we need in 2013.                 can’t afford to do.
                                                                             Nobody would come in and build a 2,500-room hotel like this
 A ‘certain amount,’ but not all before 2013?                            [at Marina Bay], with all these facilities, without gaming. You can’t
      We will support those ‘missing’ tables with tables from our        pay for it.
18 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
May 2010 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING   19
         “Marina Bay Sands will be the most     Cover Story
            important product in our system,
    although it doesn’t have the amount of
   [hotel] rooms that [our] Las Vegas [offer]
    has. From a financial investment as well
       as a return on investment standpoint,
                                                                                                              Sands Skypark
             Singapore should be the largest
                [operation] in the company.”

                                                                          Theatres
                                                                                                                                Hotel
                                                                                        Casino

                                                                                          The Shoppes at
                                                                                         Marina Bay Sands
                                                    Museum
                                                                                                             Sands Expo and
                                                                                                            Convention Center
                                                                  Event Plaza




                                                                    Crystal Pavillion




                                                How do you sell the idea of an IR to the Japanese
                                                authorities?
                                                    With gaming as a base to develop an IR in either Tokyo or
                                                Osaka, it could provide a whole lot of incentive for people to bring
                                                international meetings to Japan. I think the Japanese authorities are
                                                intelligent enough—looking at this [Marina Bay Sands] to see they
                                                need a boost of tourism. Japan’s economy is relatively flat, so they are
                                                looking for opportunities to develop.
                                                    The Tokyo facilities for conventions and meetings are not very
                                                adequate for the demand that could be created, and the same
                                                in Osaka. They have facilities, but they’re really not very good in
                                                terms of the size and the infrastructure of hotel rooms. They can’t
                                                develop it.
                                                    Look at where Japan currently ranks in the MICE business
                                                compared to Singapore. You’ll see my point. Japan is way down
                                                the list. It’s somewhere on a par with Stockholm as a convention
                                                destination for goodness sake. That’s ridiculous relative to Japan’s
                                                importance as a country and as an economy.

                                                The pressure to legalise casino gaming in Japan seems
                                                to be coming from local government—the prefectures—
                                                rather than the national government.
                                                    There have been various politicians in the Diet [Japanese
                                                Parliament] who have taken up the gaming cause in terms of having
                                                an integrated resort, and one of the governors from one of the
                                                prefectures and his staff has also looked at it.

                                                Steve Wynn said recently he wouldn’t do anything
                                                that would hurt his business in Macau. Would doing
                                                something in Japan have an impact on LVS’s Macau
                                                operation? I was thinking of the fact that the Four
                                                Seasons brand that you have on Cotai seems clearly
                                                targeted at Japanese customers.
                                                   Japanese business in Macau is a very small percentage of Macau’s
                                                business. I hope Steve Wynn doesn’t want to go to Japan because we
                                                want to go to Japan.

20 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
May 2010 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING   21
                           Raising the Roof
                    CLSA bullish on Singapore after opening of second integrated resort



 C
        LSA Asia-Pacific Markets is raising its
        estimates on the size of the Singapore        CLSA revised estimates on size of Singapore gaming market
        gaming market now that both
 integrated resorts are partially open and it
 has a little more data to work with.
     The independent brokerage and
 investment group says it is increasing its 2010
                                                   Source: CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets
 forecast in the part year for the whole market
 by 3.1% to US$2.15 billion, and by 4.1% for       more bullish on Genting Singapore based       Malaysian day-tripper casino spending,
 the full year in 2011 to US$3.69 billion. The     on recent operational performance, we are     which we increased from SG$70 to SG$100
 report, Singapore casinos–Sector outlook          [only] mildly moderating our estimates now    based on our observation of the current
 from Aaron Fischer, Jon Oh and Huei Suen          that we have more tangible data points        gaming appetite,” say the authors after a
 Ng, says the revised figures take account of      to work with and to re-validate our initial   research trip to Singapore in early May. The
 higher than anticipated spending by day           assumptions.                                  visit followed the soft opening of Marina Bay
 trippers from neighbouring Malaysia.                  “We raised our 2010CL Singapore gaming    Sands on 27th April and also reviewed the
     “The opening of MBS is generally              market size forecast marginally by +3.1% to   progress made by Resorts World Sentosa
 considered successful, and the IR is set          US$2.15 billion, and +4.1% for 2011CL to      since its first phase opening on 14th February
 for a grand opening launch in June 2010.          US$3.69 billion,” states CLSA.                during Chinese New Year.
 While we have every reason to be even                 “This is to account for an increase in         CLSA estimated no change in its total IR
                                                                                                 visitor forecast of 9.2 million for 2010 and
                                                                                                 15.1 million for 2011.
                                                                                                      CLSA acknowledges, however, that some
                                                                                                 other analysts are more cautious on the
                                                                                                 outlook for the Singapore gaming segment,
                                                                                                 in light of some question marks over the
                                                                                                 prospects for VIP play in Singapore in the
                                                                                                 probable absence of junkets.
                                                                                                      “Increasingly, consensus is turning more
                                                                                                 bearish on the prospect of the integrated
                                                                                                 resorts, and many are quick to conclude that
                                                                                                 initial gaming revenues for both RWS and
                                                                                                 MBS are disappointing and the casinos will
                                                                                                 not be successful,” states the CLSA research.

                                                                                                 Sunny side
                                                                                                    “It seems that CLSA is one of the few
                                                                                                 brokers still positive on the Singapore
 Crowds gather for the opening of Marina Bay Sands                                               gaming market. Just as we believe consensus
22 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
May 2010 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING   23
 Market Outlook




 is too bearish on Macau’s rapid earnings
 growth, we believe that consensus have
                                                                          CLSA forecast for RWS (gaming)
 underestimated the potential of Singapore’s
 gaming market,” adds the report.
     CLSA stresses that its position is based
 on its own experience from a day-long visit
 to both properties spread across different
 times of the day, combined with anecdotal
 evidence from other sources. As such, CLSA
 doesn’t claim its assessment to be entirely
 scientific, but regards it as a reasonably
 educated view based on available
 information and comparison with trends in        Source: CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets
 Macau and other Asian gaming markets.
     “We think it is too early to extrapolate                CLSA forecast for RWS (gaming and non-gaming)
 early performance of both casinos,
 especially as we believe growth will
 accelerate quite quickly over the first few
 years. Given uncertainty about timing of the
 openings for both IRs and as not all of the IR
 products are open, we believe a significant
 number of tourists have delayed holiday
 bookings. Also, some will book visits after      Source: CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets
 some of the initial teething problems are        immediately then went over to RWS and            expected a decline of [RWS] customers in
 ironed out. As a reminder, Macau gaming          spent about 0.5 hours each time to gauge         the first week of MBS opening, and have
 revenues have grown by around 30% per            the business in comparison.”                     been wrong,” say the CLSA analysts.
 annum for the last six years; and the US              The authors cite as evidence in support         They issue a note of caution, however, on
 and Australian gaming grew by between            of their bullishness their witnessing of         RWS’s mass market performance in coming
 10-15% per annum for more than ten years         resilience in Resorts World Sentosa’s mass-      months. “We still expect cannibalisation
 post-opening,” state the analysts.               market performance in face of competition        to happen in the mid-term, and think it’s a
                                                  from MBS.                                        matter of time.”
 Methodology                                            “RWS mass-market gaming continues              The authors did note Resorts World
     “Nonetheless, CLSA conducted a               to impress. Anecdotally, the RWS casino has      Sentosa’s high limit tables appeared to be
 simple study to gauge the performance of         not seen any decline of foot-traffic and table   performing better than they had expected.
 the MBS casino versus the RWS casino. We         drop since the five days of MBS opening. In          “RWS VIP could surprise consensus
 visited the MBS casino on 1st May 2010,          much similar fashion to Genting Highlands        on the upside. With over 170-210 tables
 at 2pm, 6pm and 10pm. We spent about             resort in Malaysia, RWS is starting to build     dedicated to VIP now across Crockfords
 1.0–1.5 hours each time at the casino and        a loyal base of mass-market customers. We        and Maxims Club, our recent visit to the
                                                                                                   VIP floor suggests that the foot-traffic and
                                                                                                   gaming appetite could surprise the market
                                                                                                   on the upside. RWS is currently embarking
                                                                                                   on an expansion renovation at Maxims Club
                                                                                                   to include more rooms as the VIP tables are
                                                                                                   running at high capacity. We estimated VIP
                                                                                                   to be 37% of overall revenues.”
                                                                                                       CLSA added, however: “We view the
                                                                                                   hardware of the RWS VIP as disappointing.”
                                                                                                       The authors said they were unable to
                                                                                                   draw comparisons between RWS’s high
                                                                                                   roller offer and that of Marina Bay Sands
                                                                                                   during their trip.
                                                                                                       “We were not privy to observe the
                                                                                                   performance of the VIP floors during our trip.
                                                                                                   As Sheldon Adelson [the LVS Chairman] has
                                                                                                   stated the strategy of not engaging junkets,
                                                                                                   we expect all VIP business to be direct. We
                                                                                                   have not formed any views on this segment
 Resorts World Sentosa—still very busy despite MBS opening                                         of the [MBS] business, but are inclined to
24 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
May 2010 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING   25
  Market Outlook




      CLSA’s comparison of the Singapore IR’s
                  gaming offer




  Source: CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets                                      VIP gaming at MBS—artist’s impression

  believe that it will be the stronger segment      the mass market tables at Marina Bay Sands       swing factor,” state the authors.
  compared to RWS due to the higher quality of      during their visits throughout the day.               In its summary of the IRs prospects, CLSA
  product offering and better VIP marketing.”           “MBS mass-market gaming was                  says it expects MBS’s proximity to the city
       CLSA said LVS had been the more              surprising. The under-utilisation of the         centre, including the central business district
  aggressive of the two operators in opening        mass-market gaming floor is perplexing, as       and banking district, to help it do well with
  proportionately more of its gaming floor          we expected a stronger showing given the         walk in visitors—especially in the retail and
  from day one compared to RWS.                     existing familiarity with gaming now that        dining segments.
       “MBS launched with almost over 550           RWS has been open for over two months                 “MBS will see high overall foot-traffic.
  tables in total, a statement that the casino      already. We possibly attribute [it] to [MBS]     The iconic status of the building is a tourist
  is fully fitted out from the first day. This is   having too many tables upfront, and yields       attraction in its own right and will see a
  in comparison to the soft-launch strategy         would have been better with 15-20% fewer         steady stream of visitors to the overall site
  to RWS, which started with fewer than 300         tables based on the crowd we observed.”          over time. Many other attractions such as
  tables and have since ramped up to circa              CLSA added that if RWS has made              the SkyPark, museums, and conventions
  450 tables by now. Table split between            effective use of its first mover advantage and   have yet to ramp up and will further boost
  both casinos are still around 20-30% VIP          managed to sign up Singapore citizens or         traffic,” says the CLSA research paper.
  and the balance for mass-market,” states          permanent residents as table players under
  the research paper.                               the S$2,000 annual entry fee or enrol foreign    Visitors
                                                    players under its loyalty card programmes,           The analysts quote industry sources as
  Downside surprise                                 that could have an impact on MBS’s mass          estimating MBS’s daily traffic immediately
      The authors added, however, they were         table performance.                               after its soft opening as between 36,000 and
  surprised by lower than expected numbers at           “We hope that MBS VIP could be the           50,000 people per day.


  Southeast Asia’s only Universal Studios theme park is located at RWS




26 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
27
  Market Outlook




                                                   unlike Macau where it has now become an         more combined gaming and non-gaming
          CLSA estimates on
                                                   ‘incremental’ market with stiff competition.    activities than are available in Macau or
        contribution of gaming
                                                   While it would appear one of the most           elsewhere in Asia-Pacific.
          market segments to
                                                   obvious points, we want to highlight that it         “All these attractions will support more
              Singapore
                                                   is unheard of globally for governments to       than 17 million tourist arrivals by 2015 (+70%
                                                   allow two very major casinos in the middle      from 2008). We expect average length of
                                                   of a city’s CBD. Melbourne and Sydney [in       stay will increase to four days (from 3.2 days
                                                   Australia] do have large casinos, but not the   currently), which compares with Macau’s
                                                   scale of Singapore, a city that also attracts   1.3 days. Lastly, Singapore’s airport sees 38
                                                   a larger number of tourists. The Singapore      million visitors per year—visitors that could
                                                   government is providing easy access to its      be convinced to stop over for one to two
                                                   five million population.                        days en route to further away locations. This
                                                       “We find the S$100 entry fee rather         could represent some low hanging fruit for
                                                   nominal compared to typical bet sizes.          the IRs.”
                                                   Also, the S$100 represents a light obstacle          Finally, CLSA stresses the backing
  Source: CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets                compared to the public of Hong Kong who         from Singapore’s government for the IR
                                                   have to travel over one hour to Macau via       experiment as a big plus.
      “MBS retail is impressive. The retail        ferry; or for Malaysians living in KL [Kuala         “There is strong government support,
  offering at MBS surprised on the upside          Lumpur] who have to travel to Genting           with no policy pushbacks. Gaming taxes
  with a slew of luxury brands and over            Highlands or Singaporeans that currently             are between 12-22% [inclusive of Goods
  one million square feet of retail space.         travel to Genting or board gaming cruises.      and Services Tax] versus 39% in Macau and
  Coupled with 16 restaurants in the IR,           Also, [Chinese] mainlanders are restricted      25% in Malaysia. The success of the IRs is
  we believe that this will change the             to visit Macau once very two months, which      in the interests of the government as this
  lifestyle of upper-middle class and above        dramatically constrains the size of Macau’s     initiative represents a tool to attract tourists,
  Singaporeans, and will be the centre of          gaming market.                                  create jobs and add to the increasingly
  attraction for wealthy tourists.”                                                                dynamic cultural landscape of Singapore.
      The report describes the decision of         Tourism boost                                   Furthermore, unlike the regional gaming
  LVS to price entry-level rooms at the Marina          “The Singapore government’s STB            jurisdictions Macau (China visa policies) and
  Bay Sands Hotel at S$450 (US$322) for a          [Singapore Tourism Board] has recently          Malaysia (religious backlash), Singapore IRs
  relatively modest 300 square feet as “a high     issued guidance for a 30% rise in visitor       have the full support of the government,
  rate for Singapore”.                             arrivals for 2010, on the back of the two       ranging from guaranteed duopoly to no
      “We still expect high occupancy,” say the    IRs. The Singapore casino-resorts will offer    immigration policy pushbacks for now.”
  authors. CLSA expects RWS, located as it is
  on another island some distance from the
  CBD, will appeal particularly to lower end
  day-trippers arriving by bus.
      “We are bullish that RWS’s product
  offering (especially gaming) is suited to the
  low to mid mass market while [the] MBS
  product offering is tailored to the higher-
  end market,” states the report.
      The authors do, though, issue a note of
  caution regarding uncertainties over the
  VIP segment.
      “While we are more bullish than the
  consensus, we still see upside risk to our VIP
  estimate. We currently expect VIP to make up
  around 33% of the market, which compares
  to around 66% in Macau.
      The report concludes in an upbeat mood.
      “The IRs have completely transformed
  the entertainment landscape of Singapore.
  With average daily foot-traffic ranging
  from 25,000 to 50,000 per day in each of
  the two casinos, there is less of a doubt
  now that Singapore is truly a gaming
  market that was waiting to be unleashed.
  Both the casinos are ‘transformational’,         New heights—the IRs are part of Singapore’s master plan to boost tourism

28 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
May 2010 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING   29
                                              Perfect
                                              Timing
                                         Walker Digital’s Perfect Pay baccarat
                                        is a game changer for casinos without
                                                 changing the game




                                    E
                                          veryone’s aware of the tantalising promise that radio
                                          frequency identification (RFID) gaming tables hold out for
                                          the casino industry. Operators would love to be able to use
                                    the technology to eliminate the sort of table losses that happen in
                                    every casino, no matter how well the casino is run. Those losses are
                                    caused by human factors such as dealer mispays, the misrating by
                                    the house of a player’s value leading to overpaying on ‘comps’ and
                                    the introduction to the table by fraudsters of counterfeit chips.
                                        Now operators can use that technology thanks to Walker Digital
                                    Gaming’s Perfect Pay Smart Table. Perfect Pay looks like a traditional
                                    table, but underneath the familiar felt is technology that’s anything
                                    but standard. The baccarat format of Perfect Pay, developed
                                    specifically with the high play volume Asian markets in mind, gives
                                    operators a unique opportunity to measure and monitor their table
                                    gambling operation in as much detail as their slot operation. It does
                                    that without changing in any way the traditional format or style of
                                    the game. Arguably, Perfect Pay actually allows baccarat to be the
                                    game players always wanted it to be—a game free of hold ups such
                                    as commission calculations or disputes over mispays.
                                        “It’s a game changer without changing the game,” says Stephen
                                    Moore, Managing Director of Walker Digital Gaming.

                                    Breakthrough
                                        “Casinos have pit automation, cage automation and rating
                                    automation. But previously there hasn’t been the kind of depth to
                                    table automation that you see in slot operations, where you track
                                    every wager, every win, every loss, the complete handle, with
                                    complete security and complete control. That’s what we do on a
                                    table game that’s never been done before,” points out Mr Moore.
                                        Not only can Perfect Pay make baccarat the game players always
                                    wanted by speeding up play and eliminating player-dealer disputes,
                                    but it can also turn house edge from a mystical theoretical number
                                    into a reality. And the return on investment (ROI) from Perfect Pay
                                    can be measured in months, not years.
                                        “If you catch even one mistake on each table every day—not
  Stephen Moore                     even on every shift—you achieve rapid ROI,” points out Stephen
30 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
                                                                                                                      Walker Digital Gaming




Moore, “and that’s without even counting its counterfeit detection           casino management to know the perfect state of the game, the
capability,” he adds.                                                        foolproof nature of Perfect Pay reduces the supervisory workload of
    The ‘brain’ of Perfect Pay is its RFID technology, including the tags    pit managers and pit supervisors. Fewer supervisory hours worked
embedded in the gaming chips and the antennae inside the table to            means lower operator costs. In expensive labour markets such as
recognise what those chips are doing. Perfect Pay turns your casino          Macau and Singapore, that can be a key contribution to building
currency into a self-reporting, self-policing and crucially foolproof        profitability.
part of your table operation.
    “Players can’t cheat it, dealers can’t cheat it, counterfeiters can’t    Operational insight
scam it and it eliminates dealer errors. What that means is that the             Walker Digital’s senior management team all have backgrounds
good dealers will get promoted and the average dealers will continue         in casino operations. That means when they designed and
to be effective on table games,” explains Mr Moore.                          commissioned Perfect Pay, they created the table they had always
                                                                             wanted as operators, rather than the table that ‘nearly’ ticked all the
Chip recognition                                                             right boxes. In other words, they brought their skill to the marketplace,
     On the outside, the RFID gambling chip looks and feels like a           not their need.
standard gaming chip. On the inside, each chip is embedded with a                “There’s a saying in business: ‘Measure what you wish to manage’,”
tiny radio frequency (RF) microchip. When a gaming chip is placed            says Mr Moore.
in the betting circle, the antenna emits an electromagnetic field                “How do we measure someone betting millions and millions
that enables it to read the value of the chip and relays the data to         of dollars on table games? Should we have someone standing
the table’s embedded computer and the back office system. Perfect            there with a clipboard writing it down? That’s what currently
Pay can recognise and read instantly 100 chips stacked 20 high in            happens in VIP rooms in Macau. We say that as an industry we can
five columns.                                                                do better than that.
     Earlier RFID table designs sometimes attempted to retrofit                  “If you have to calculate the commission on an odd number of
existing tables with RFID elements, or followed traditional guidelines       millions of Hong Kong dollars using a clipboard and calculator, that
for table design. In contrast, “We designed every aspect of the Perfect      can slow a game down by ten hands an hour. With our system, it’s
Pay table from the ground up to ensure the reliability and security of       done instantly. When people see it demonstrated, they love it.”
the RFID solution first and foremost,” says Stephen Moore.                       One of the often-voiced fears of table fans and some operators is
     That said, tables are customised for each operator and look no          that technology introduced at tableside will change the fundamental
different from other tables on the floor except for two small touch-         character of the games players love. Walker Digital’s Perfect Pay
screens embedded at the dealer position.                                     baccarat finds just the right balance between operational and play
     If the dealer forgets to take one of the losers’ chips off the table,   optimisation and staying faithful to a game loved by many millions
the system suspends the game. The dealer can’t go on until he or she         over many generations.
takes the chip off the table. If the dealer tries to overpay, the tracking        “When you sit here and play, it’s regular baccarat,” states
system suspends the game. If the dealer underpays, the system                Stephen Moore.
display records it. The players then have the confidence of knowing              “The difference is, as an operator, you can do player ratings
the game is fair.                                                            on the system, you can do perfect player tracking. If you want to
                                                                             award points for handle like you would with slot machines, you
Foolproof                                                                    can do that.”
    “With this platform, not only will you catch the cheaters at                 Essentially, Perfect Pay baccarat is a triple live game with the
the moment they cheat, you’ll also catch the counterfeiters at the           reporting and analytical capability of a slot accounting system. With
moment they bet, rather than at the cage,” explains Stephen Moore.           that kind of capability and that potential for return on investment,
    Using the secure platform of instant chip recognition, Perfect           the issue for operators isn’t whether to switch to Perfect Pay. The
Pay’s specially developed software is able to mine the data produced         issue is can they afford not to?
by table play in order to report on game speed, bet mix, table
occupancy, theoretical win, actual win and player betting patterns.
In addition, electronic tableside displays supplied with Perfect
Pay allow supervisors to see real-time information on the game,
including cards dealt, hand totals and bets placed. For many Chinese
players interested in detecting patterns of play in baccarat, knowing
such information is as much about entertainment as it is about game
transparency. From an operator’s viewpoint, having such information
in automated form gives the house real control over its table business.
Perfect Pay is also highly flexible, with configuration options for
commission or no-commission play, minimum and maximum
bets, and programmable limits on table exposure.
    “Our proprietary game system tracks every movement
of everything on the table. By having all that information, we
have perfect knowledge of the state of the game at all times,”
explains Stephen Moore of Walker Digital. As well as allowing the
                                                                                                                      May 2010 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING   31
 Encore at Wynn Macau




                                     Core Values
      Steve Wynn moves relatively slowly, but also very surely, in the Macau gaming market



 D
         espite a 70% year-on-year growth in Macau gross gaming            It means the company is less likely to be heavily discounted in
         revenues in April, the stock values of casino operators in that   downward trends and more likely to be quickly marked up in rising
         market continue to be at the mercy of external economic           ones. Steve Wynn seems to have achieved that level of confidence
 factors. Those factors range from regional issues such as China’s         among analysts that follow his companies’ stocks.
 domestic credit policies to global ones such as the potential for a           In that sense, the opening in late April of Encore at Wynn
 sovereign debt crisis in the European Union.                              Macau—Mr Wynn’s residential style property pitched at the
     In those circumstances, for a company’s management to have            cream of Macau’s high rollers—is important for what it says about
 the confidence of investors is almost as good as money in the bank.       the quality of Wynn’s execution on its China projects and how
                                                                           that reinforces investors’ underlying confidence in Mr Wynn and
                                                                           his management team. The message that Encore at Wynn Macau
                                                                           delivers, therefore, is as significant as the high-end capacity it
                                                                           adds to the Macau gaming market.
                                                                               The property’s modest gaming inventory—approximately
                                                                           37 VIP tables, 24 mass-market tables and 69 slot machines—is
                                                                           complemented by 410 suites and four villas, packaged together at
                                                                           a cost that may actually come in under the US$600 million budget
                                                                           originally announced. On 31st March, less than a month before
                                                                           Encore’s opening, the company said it had spent US$500 million on
                                                                           development and construction. The week of the launch it said even
                                                                           with pre-opening expenses (recorded at US$1.93 million in the first
                                                                           quarter balance sheet of Wynn’s local unit), it expected the total
                                                                           project costs to be US$575 million.

                                                                           Thinking
                                                                               Such quality execution gives expression to the idea Mr Wynn
                                                                           knows exactly what he wants for Macau and from Macau. It follows
                                                                           on from the initial successful launch of his flagship Macau property,
                                                                           Wynn Macau, in 2006. In April this year, the US$1.2 billion Wynn
                                                                           Macau, with its (by Macau standards) modest footprint, had a 14%
                                                                           share of Macau gross gaming revenues—only 7% behind second
                                                                           place Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS), which has spent and built vastly
                                                                           more infrastructure.
                                                                               Karen Tang of Deutsche Bank, in comments to Dow Jones in
                                                                           Hong Kong, estimated Encore at Wynn Macau could contribute 7%
                                                                           of Wynn’s 2010 EBITDA in the Macau market in the remaining eight
                                                                           months of the year. Ms Tang also noted Wynn Macau’s property
                                                                           EBITDA was up 28% in the first quarter of 2010—reflective of the
                                                                           underlying surge in gross gaming revenues, but nonetheless ahead
                                                                           of market expectations.
                                                                               By contrast, some of the foreign-owned rival operators in the
                                                                           Macau market occasionally give the impression of making up
                                                                           their Macau strategy as they go along, rebranding, renaming and
                                                                           relaunching properties willy-nilly as if that were a substitute for
                                                                           careful thought and a clear game plan.
                                                                               Even the meticulous Mr Wynn nearly had his plans for the gala
                                                                           opening of Encore scuppered by unforeseen events. On the eve of
                                                                           the celebrations, the Chinese government announced it would hold
                                                                           a day of national mourning for the victims of the Qinghai earthquake
                                                                           on the same day as Encore’s planned launch. Wynn’s pragmatic
 Encore at Wynn Macau tower                                                solution was to open anyway on the day (since guests had suite
32 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
                                                                                                                   Encore at Wynn Macau




                                                                           have only one hotel and a maximum of 450 gaming tables. That,
                                                                           in turn, could encourage Stanley Ho’s casino operating company
                                                                           to make firm plans for a Cotai property. Dr Ambrose So, SJM Chief
                                                                           Executive, said last month he thought Cotai currently lacked sufficient
                                                                           “critical mass” to drive customers to the area and keep them there,
                                                                           and crucially to turn them into repeat visitors. But with ever greater
                                                                           numbers of visitors from the People’s Republic arriving directly at
                                                                           Cotai by road via the Lotus Bridge crossing point, rather than by
                                                                           ferry at the Macau peninsula, no operator can afford to ignore the
                                                                           potential of this important and growing southerly outpost of Macau’s
                                                                           casino infrastructure.
                                                                                Karen Tang of DB suggests that in order for Wynn to go full steam
                                                                           ahead with its Cotai project, the company will need assurances that
                                                                           its existing gaming concession will be extended beyond its current
                                                                           2022 expiry date.
                                                                                “We believe the discussion is still in a preliminary stage,”
                                                                           suggests Ms Tang.
Sparkling performance—Steve Wynn watching the fireworks the day                 Mr Wynn has previously been critical of his Nevada and Macau
after Encore’s opening                                                     competitor, LVS, for building too much too quickly on Cotai and
                                                                           getting ahead of the underlying economic growth in China.
reservations), but without ceremony and without fireworks—the                   “In the past few years, Cotai players have built very ambitious
pyrotechnics being postponed until the following day.                      projects, but they had little experience in gaming,” Mr Wynn said on
                                                                           the eve of the Encore launch.
Announcement                                                                    “We have 42 years; and we will land on Cotai and the competition
     Given that Encore is the only new property opening in Macau           with all of that experience.”
this year, Mr Wynn took the opportunity not only to set out his stall
for the future of his high roller offer in Macau, but also to talk about
his much anticipated plans for further expansion in the market.
     Mr Wynn said construction on a Cotai project would start in 2011,
with a possible opening before the end of 2013. He added it would



                Macau Bound
  D    uring a question and answer session with analysts and
       investors following the release of Wynn Resort Ltd’s Q1
  2010 results, Steve Wynn said he planned to adjust his schedule
  to spend more time in Macau, where the bulk of his company’s
  revenues are produced.
      With Wynn’s Macau unit now listed on the Hong Kong Stock
  Exchange and the company making plans to build a third casino
  in Macau, Mr Wynn said his activities need to reflect and show
  respect for the company’s dependence on Asia.
      “I don’t intend to uproot everybody who works for me,
  but it’s becoming appropriate that I spend more of my time in
  Macau,” Mr Wynn said. “I intend to begin the process to switch
  that schedule.”
      During the run-up to the opening of Encore Macau, Mr Wynn
  told local media he was considering moving Wynn Resorts’
  corporate headquarters to Macau because the bulk of the
  company’s business now comes from Asia—though the claim
  seems more a PR tactic than a realistic near-term possibility. He
  also criticized the economic policies of President Barack Obama,
  saying they had hurt American business development.
      Mr Wynn added plans for a Cotai resort in Macau would
  include a corporate headquarters. “I think that shows a respect
  for our company’s position in Macau,” he said.

                                                                                                                   May 2010 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING   33
  Casino Design




    Elegance vs. Opulence
                    Columnist David Kranes discusses the ‘wow ‘ factor in casino design


  Wynn Macau




  W
             ith most areas which fascinate me—theater, art, music,       that his greatest pleasure would be for a visitor to walk into one of his
             sports—I can produce a long list of heroes. Finding a hero   casinos, look around and say, “Wow!”
             in the world of casino design is much harder. Jon Jerde           Wow’s a simple word: three letters only and an almost involuntary,
  comes close. David Rockwell comes close. But neither comes as close     primal expression of another simple three-letter word—awe. You don’t
  as Steve Wynn.                                                          have to think “Wow!” It’s that basic. And yet what Wow encompasses
      When either Jon Jerde or David Rockwell designs a casino they’re    is broad and profound. It expresses respect and admiration and
  essentially ghostwriters. You might say the Bellagio is Steve Wynn’s    humility and congratulations. It expresses reverence and surprise
  “story” as told to Jon Jerde.                                           and delight. If any of us can elicit a “Wow” we feel pretty good about
      Steve Wynn doesn’t like being called a visionary, but he is one.    it. Wow comes from the heart. It’s pure. It’s not mucked up. There’s
  A rough, raw man, he has amazing grace. He grows blind and yet          little that’s hotshot or phony about it.
  he sees. Wynn’s a man with increasingly tunnel eyesight—yet                  Scientists aren’t usually the first people who come to mind in
  broad vision.                                                           discussions of beauty; but the truth is, scientists talk a lot about
      Charlie Rose, in his “The Man Who Helped Reinvent Las Vegas”        beauty. Mathematicians will talk about the beauty of an equation.
  interview with Wynn on “60 Minutes” last April, asked him why it was    And most of the time when a scientist means beauty he uses the
  he cared so much about what a casino looks and feels like. And Wynn,    word “elegance”. An extraordinary theory or mechanism is “elegant”.
  who confesses to being a man who’s always loved the beautiful, said     Elegant’s a good word; something that’s elegant makes you go
34 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
                                                                                                                                     Wynn




Decorative dragon in the Wing Lei Restaurant at the Wynn Macau




                                                                              That which is elegant is astoundingly
                                                                                  complicated in its simplicity

                                                                                    Elegant design is always
                                                                              careful, and though it doesn’t boast,
                                                                                       the care’s impressive

                                                                          The main lobby entrance of Wynn Macau




Eastern promise—the Wynn Macau pool

“Wow”. That which is elegant is astoundingly complicated in its
simplicity. When a thought or gesture or arrangement can convey
so much with (seemingly) so little, that is elegant. In the world of
elegant there’s very little wasted stuff; very little wasted motion. To
its great strength—and almost by definition—elegant is economical.
One look at Las Vegas’ City Center, even in its unfinished state, tells
you it’s not elegant.
     After The Mirage, a lot of casino operators thought they were
copying Steve Wynn. Some things, yes, they were stealing from him
(and from his success), but most of Wynn’s copiers (please include
Sheldon Adelson’s The Venetian) were mistaking opulence for
elegance. They were confusing decoration with décor. Opulence
                                                                                                              May 2010 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING   35
  Casino Design




  Elegant ergonomics—the main floor at Wynn Macau


  is the drunk at the dinner party who keeps repeating everything             security and discover it to be an environment in which they, as
  he says, and in a loud voice. Elegance is the quiet guest, the              well, feel assured and secure. In an opulent casino, players become
  woman who says only a few things, all of which are compelling               infected with the designer’s uncertainty and feel insecure. “Wow”-
  and surprising and mysterious. You can’t wait to get away from the          eliciting, elegant casinos are decisive; they generate the sense
  drunk. You hunger to spend more time with the woman.                        of lucidly made decisions. “Hmm”-eliciting, opulent casinos are
       If elegance prompts an involuntary “Wow,” opulence triggers a          indecisive; when you dine in them it’s harder to make your choices
  reflexive “Hmm”.                                                            from the menus.
       “Hmm” is a response which, though it struggles to give due                  An elegant casino floor layout is at once simple and complex—
  credit for all the stuff, is a sound more filled with questions than with   multiple elements, but all dovetailing seamlessly, fitting; nothing
  approval and admiration.                                                    calling attention to itself; instead, being. A guest would never stand
       If you’re in an elegant casino, and the business is brisk, it feels    in an elegant casino and exclaim, “Whoa! Look at all those slots!” or
  vital and active. In an opulent casino the same level of business           “Look at all those tables.” An elegant casino would know better than
  feels crowded. Designers of elegant casinos see the larger picture.         to massively dedicate half-acres of floor space to any single activity.
  Designers of opulent casinos sometimes see themselves as the                Leave such dedicated tracts to the opulent casino.
  larger picture. Elegant design is always careful, and though it                  Elegant is intricate yet clear. Opulent is overwrought and
  doesn’t boast, the care’s impressive. Opulent design is, too often,         astigmatic. Elegant you’re immensely proud of, but keep working
  flair-ful—and does boast, though its boasting’s not impressive. In          on. Opulent you’re sort of satisfied with, but leave behind you
  an elegant casino, players pick up the designer’s assurance and             and move on.
36 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
A pool cabana at Wynn Macau




Living room of a suite at Wynn Macau



     You get the idea.
     We need more elegant casinos. The notion that anything
worth doing well is worth overdoing is wrong. We are a nation of
conspicuous consumers (or were), but we don’t like being reminded
of it in public.
     Think Wow! Think elegant.

    David Kranes is an award-winning playwright, author and
university professor who has been consulting with casinos for the
past 15 years, both in the United States and Europe, on how to make
their spaces more “explorable,” more enjoyable and ultimately more
profitable. He has recently finished a casino design book, “More
Adventurous Playgrounds”.
                                                                      May 2010 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING   37
  Feature




      Vietnam’s Long March
                        Will locals be allowed entry to casinos in the Socialist Republic?
                                             Don’t hold your breath




  R
         eports of the imminent opening up of the Vietnam casino             as well as a national lottery.
         market to local players have proven premature in the past.              The lottery plan is said to have reached the bidding stage with
         Recently, however, a few new potential casino projects have         interest from local and foreign operators, including Malaysian
  been announced within the country. It gives the impression that            conglomerate Berjaya Group and Italy’s Lottomatica Group. Berjaya
  some investors may have inside information and that something              runs Berjaya Sports Toto, Malaysia’s only national lotto operator, with
  may really be about to happen this time.                                   around 700 outlets. Lottomatica describes itself as the worldwide
      The restriction of the local casino market to foreigners and           leading lottery operator in terms of overall wagers. Through its
  Vietnamese holding foreign passports—essentially the same                  subsidiary GTECH, the group is also one of the world’s leading
  business model as South Korea—has led many analysts to question            suppliers of delivery technology for lotteries and games.
  the wisdom of investors pursuing plans for a capital intensive gaming          Now sources within the country tell Inside Asian Gaming that
  resort such as Ho Tram. They argue that with an artificially limited       the government is actively encouraging new bids for new casino
  market, it would be difficult to generate sufficient annual yield on the   licences. That would account for the recent flurry of projects and
  investment. As with South Korea, however, Vietnam could choose to          announcements.
  allow one or a handful of casinos to open to locals—possibly locating          United States-based Emerging Market Group says it wants to set
  them in less economically developed regions away from major cities.        up a major tourism project in northern Quang Ninh province. The
  Ho Tram would certainly pass the test on that score.                       firm recently met provincial leaders to propose a US$3 billion project
      In March, industry research organisation gamblingcompliance.           in the Van Don Economic Zone.
  com reported that the Vietnamese government had recently                       According to Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and
  concluded consultation on a draft casino and electronic gaming             Environment, the project includes a five-star hotel and casino complex
  machine decree first published in 2009. The website said the decree        with around 2,000 rooms, a golf course, an international convention
  would further formalise casino gambling in Vietnam. It added the           centre, a horseracing track, a high-rise apartment building and an
  government had also hinted measures to curb online gambling were           entertainment park.
  under consideration.                                                           Another company, with the catchy title Silver Shores Hoang Dat
      The Vietnamese government is nothing if not pragmatic and              Exceptional International Entertainment Joint Venture Company (or
  realises if it cracks down on online betting, it will have to give the     Silver Shores Hoang Dat for short), opened what’s described officially
  locals a credible, locally managed alternative. That may account for       as “an entertainment facility for foreigners” in Danang in January.
  why the country has reportedly also issued decrees on sports betting       Officially, it’s not a casino.

38 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
                                                                                                                                  Feature




    MGM Grand Ho Tram Resort                                               The fact the USD168 million “facility” complete with a 600-room
                                                                      hotel, high-end villas, and a convention centre also reportedly
         and Casino                                                   contains ten plus tables for blackjack, roulette and baccarat and flies
                                                                      in Chinese tourists from Guangzhou twice a week to be “entertained”
     MGM Grand Resort and                                             is neither here nor there.
Casino, Ho Tram will be a five-                                            The resort operators have—according to a report in VietNamNet
star integrated resort and                                            Bridge—recently upset lawmakers in the country (not to mention an
entertainment           destination                                   Australian casino company) by allowing it to be advertised to the
offering guests a premier                                             outside world under the name ‘Crowne International Casino’.
hospitality experience. The MGM                                            As comical as this hair splitting is for outsiders, it does hint
Grand Ho Tram, slated to be                                           at the internal debate still going on in Vietnam about the very
among Vietnam’s most luxurious                                        concept of casinos.
resorts, will be constructed in                                            Our sources say the Vietnamese government doesn’t yet have a
two phases over the course of                                         draft law on allowing locals in casinos. And some of the communist
approximately three years. The                                        old guard within the government are reportedly strongly against it. It
spectacular luxury hotel rooms                                        may be a question of waiting for these senior veterans of the Vietnam
will be enhanced by a variety of                                      War to die or retire from politics before much can happen.
retail, upscale food and beverage                                          The fact Hồ Chí Minh—credited with founding the current
establishments, luxurious spa                                         Vietnamese state—was 79 when he died in office (as president of
facility     and    state-of-the-art                                  then North Vietnam) means the casino liberalisation lobby could be
gaming facilities, creating an                                        in for a considerable wait.
unrivalled vacation experience.
     In 2012, the five-star MGM
Grand Ho Tram plans to open its MGM Grand Ho Tram Resort
doors offering 550 luxury guest and Casino renderings
rooms, a full spectrum of world-
class amenities, a conference center and a fully operational
gaming area consisting of 90 live table games and 500 electronic
games. The initial stage of the MGM Grand Ho Tram will include
the first tower of 492 deluxe rooms, 52 executive and one-
bedroom suites, 4 luxury suites and 2 presidential suites in a
contemporary Asian design blending traditional serenity with
modern luxury.
     It is planned that by 2013, MGM Grand Ho Tram will open a
new tower containing an additional 550 guest rooms, along with
14 high-end private villas. Also to be added will be 500 electronic
table games, bringing that total to 1,000 when the second stage
of the resort is complete. In total, the MGM Grand Ho Tram will
offer 1,114 five-star hotel rooms, including suites and villas.

MGM Grand Resort and Casino, Ho Tram Amenities
•    Five-star luxury hotel with 492 rooms and 58 suites
•    High-end retail shopping
•    Food and beverage facilities that are a destination unto
     themselves, including a combination of contemporary
     restaurants along with celebrity chef restaurants
•    Live entertainment
•    Landscaped gardens and spectacular water features
•    Exclusive pool with beach cabanas and pool bar
•    Gaming floor with approximately 10,000 square metres of
     public area featuring:
•    90 table games providing Baccarat, Blackjack, Sic Bo, Pai
     Gow, and Poker
•    500 slot machines/electronic table games
•    An exclusive VIP area, serviced by tour groups and junket
     operators, with private lounges and terrace gaming rooms.
•    Loyalty VIP lounge and registration facility

                                                                                                              May 2010 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING   39
 Feature


 World Heritage
 meets Silver
 Heritage



                  Weighing Angkor
                             Silver Heritage signs management deal for planned
                                            Siem Reap casino resort



                  S
                        ilver Heritage Limited, a casino investment            NagaWorld in Phnom Penh, in addition to managing
                        and management company with operations                 entire floors of electronic casino tables such as at its
                        throughout the Asia Pacific region, has signed         operations at Dansavanh Casino in Laos.
                  an agreement to run the gaming operations of Bellus              “We’re now generating enough cash flow from
                  Angkor Resort & City, a proposed new casino resort           our existing businesses to enable us to expand
                  at Siem Reap, Cambodia.                                      comfortably into larger operations,” said Mr
                      “It’s a memorandum of understanding covering             Bolsover.
                  up to 500 electronic table and slot games,” says Mike            Intercity may bring in a specialist experienced
                  Bolsover, Chief Executive Officer of SHL.                    team to run the live tables and VIP rooms in the Siem
                      “It’s one of at least four opportunities of this scale   Reap property.
                  we are looking at in Southeast Asia set to launch                SHL adds that its knowledge of automated
                  between now and 2011,” he adds.                              and live table games in addition to slots and slot
                      The arrangement is with the developer of the             management systems will help to maximise the
                  Siem Reap project—a consortium led by South                  operational efficiency of the site.
                  Korea’s Intercity Group. The consortium has already              Ben Lee, Chief Operations Officer of Gaming for
                  given financial guarantees on the project to the             the Siem Reap project, welcomed Silver Heritage to
                  Cambodian government and is currently working                the venture.
                  to complete funding on the first phase of the                    “I’ve worked with Silver Heritage on other
                  development.                                                 projects and always found the company’s flexibility,
                                                                               responsiveness and commitment to the casino
                  Proven                                                       host’s needs one of their key competitive edges.
                     SHL already has a successful track record                 Silver Heritage will be one of two partners we will
                  operating small to medium size slot clubs and                be working with in this area, and I have no doubt
                  automated casino installations in the region                 that they will add immense value to our gaming
                              including 60 gaming machines at                  marketing edge” added Mr Lee.




 Ben Lee




                                  Bellus vistas—the plan of the proposed casino resort at Siem Reap

40
May 2010 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING   41
                                             Sparkling Arrival
                                             Latvia’s DLV offers welcome new choice for Asian players




                                              D
                                                        LV, one of Latvia’s leading gaming machine
                                                        manufacturers and operators, will be
                                                        showcasing its wares at the upcoming G2E
                                              Asia Expo, which runs 9-10th June at the Cotai Expo
                                              hall at The Venetian Macao.
                                                   Founded in 1994, DLV has continuously increased
                                              its product range and manufacturing capacity,
                                              adhering to the latest technology and establishing
                                              its presence throughout the Baltic region. The
                                              company strives to provide innovative solutions
                                              to gaming, applying the real-world insights
                                              gleaned from its operations to product
                                              development, which now includes high
                                              security peripherals.
                                                   DLV has over 400 staff, and operates more
                                              than 50 gaming halls under the ‘Zilais Dimants’
                                              (Blue Diamond) brand. The gaming halls carry
                                              over 850 machines produced by DLV and other
                                              major international slot machine manufacturers.
                                                   DLV’s skilled technical staff is on hand to
                                              provide customers constant service. Engineering
                                              and operational staff are also put through regular
                                              training to ensure their knowledge is up to
                                               date. Meanwhile, the company’s leadership
                                                is constantly looking at ways to improve
                                                  operations and to anticipate changes in the
                                                   gaming industry to keep DLV ahead of the
                                                     competition.
                                                                                                 Diamond Games Premium III, DLV’s new
                                                           DLV Chairman Michail Volokotkin
                                                                                                 multigame
                                                       believes Asian players are tiring of the
                                                       familiar slot machine brands that have dominated the continent for so many years,
                                                       and are now hungry for new choice. This presents DLV an opportunity to break
                                                       into the market with games providing unique graphics and multi-functionality.
                                                           DLV made its Asian debut in February this year with Jewel Jackpot in Poipet,
                                                      Cambodia. The games were unveiled at the Star Vegas and Golden Crown casinos,
                                                      to coincide with Chinese New Year. DLV’s move into Poipet allowed the company
                                                      to gauge the reaction of Asian players to its games. Next, it shifted its focus to
                                                      getting licensed in Macau and other major Asian gaming markets, adapting
                                                      its products along the way in order to meet the needs and preferences of local
                                                   players and operators.
                                                          The G2E Asia Expo provides operators around Asia a chance to come check out
                                                    the benefits of DLV’s products for themselves. Mr Volokotkin believes Diamond
                                                    Games Premium III is particularly appealing to Asian operators and players, offering
                                              more games, more lines, and different variations of bonuses and free games. The
                                              multigame product has been a great success in Europe, and even though multigames
 The Jewel Jackpot system carries 10 games    were initially met by Asian players with some apprehension, they have gradually become
 on a multigame platform                      popular around the region.
42
May 2010 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING   43
  Briefs




  Regional Briefs
                                                                            That was announced before the 2008 global credit crisis took
                                                                            hold and changed the dynamics of gaming industry funding. The
                                                                            figure of US$4.2 billion is still being mentioned, but the plan now
                                                                            appears to have been split up into more easily digestible chunks
                                                                            to be developed in stages.
                                                                                Asian Coast, which holds a 50-year investment licence from the
  ‘One for one’ policy could push up Macau                                  Vietnamese government, says it plans five individual resorts for the
  casino building costs                                                     project, two of which will include gambling. The licence allows 180
                                                                            gaming tables and 2,000 electronic gaming machines split between
                                                                            the two casino properties, reports Reuters.
                                                                                One question investors will want clarified is whether the Vietnam
                                                                            government will allow locals access to the casino resort, as there
                                                                            must be question marks about its viability were it to rely solely on
                                                                            Vietnamese with foreign passports and foreign tourists. Chinese
                                                                            mass-market players or Chinese junket players would be one
                                                                            possible target group. Another possibility would be for Vietnam to
                                                                            adopt a Singapore-style system of allowing locals in to Ho Tram,
                                                                            provided they pay a daily or yearly fee—thereby ensuring that only
                                                                            well-heeled locals can play.
                                                                                Inside Asian Gaming was told recently that Vietnamese banks,
                                                                            backed by the Vietnamese government, were willing to put up half
                                                                            the project costs in a credit package, provided Asian Coast was able
                                                                            to raise the rest on the open market.
                                                                                Mike Ayemong, formerly executive chairman of Asian Coast, is
                                                                            now no longer connected with the project.


  Labour pains–Cotai projects could suffer in recruitment row
      The Macau government’s proposal that construction projects
  should employ one local for every non-resident brought on site have
  raised fears it could slow down work on future casino projects and
  push up costs.
      Possible losers under the proposal could be Las Vegas Sands
  Corp, which recently announced it was finalising the US$1.75 billion
  financing necessary to restart its suspended Cotai five and six
  projects, and Galaxy Entertainment Group, which is fitting out its
  previously suspended Galaxy Macau resort on Cotai.
      Macau’s jobless rate of 2.9% in the first quarter would be
  considered in many jurisdictions to be statistical full employment.
  Nonetheless, some locals turned out on May Day to protest about
  imported labour, in a reprise of the demonstrations seen during the
  height of the casino building boom in 2006 and 2007. Local media
  said 40 people were injured when the rally turned violent.


  Fresh push on Ho Tram
      Plans for a casino resort on the Ho Tram Strip in Vietnam             Ho Tram–coming soon?
  appear to have been given fresh impetus with the appointment of
  Lloyd Nathan, formerly president of MGM Mirage’s global gaming
  development, as chief executive officer of the development                Cotai–the final frontier for Wynn in Macau
  consortium.                                                                    Chinese consumers are interested in space, says Steve Wynn.
      Funding for the project—to be managed by MGM MIRAGE and               And he isn’t referring to the country’s interplanetary exploration
  to be called MGM Grand Ho Tram—may now finally be available.              programme.
  Reuters reported recently that hedge fund Harbinger Capital Partners           Mr Wynn said during a conference call to discuss his company’s
  is backing the development consortium, Asian Coast Development            first quarter 2010 earnings that when he builds on Cotai, he will keep
  Ltd, and that the first phase of the scheme will cost US$400 million. A   it low density and luxurious.
  possible first phase opening in 2014 was mentioned.                             “What I believe is missing from Cotai is a legitimate destination
      The original project was for a US$4.2 billion integrated resort.      resort that has the one thing in China that is so scarce, and that is
44 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
                                                                                                                                           Briefs




space,” Mr Wynn said.                                                       independently of her father in the manner previously accepted by
   “I want to build a hotel in Cotai and I have designed one that           the Nevada authorities, which signed off on the joint venture prior to
makes use in our 51-acre parcel of extended space of water and              the opening of MGM Macau in December 2007.
gardens, no matter where you are in the building. And that creates               Domestic state politics may play a role in the stance of Illinois
an emotional involvement by the guest at a level that cannot be             lawmakers. US President Barack Obama is a former senator for Illinois
achieved in a city.”                                                        and has made several speeches recently making unfavourable
   Mr Wynn added that the project, likely to open in 2014 or                comparisons between the banking sector and Las Vegas. There
2015, would be “the difference between a lovely hotel and a                 is strong opposition among a vocal segment of local voters to
destination resort.”                                                        expansion of gaming in the state. Illinois also has its own corruption
                                                                            scandal with former state governor Rod Blagojevich being accused
                                                                            of trying to sell Mr Obama’s former US Senate seat.
Harrah’s for Manila?
                                                                            Viva Macau’s extra handouts revealed
                                                                                 The Macau government’s help to now-failed airline Viva Macau
                                                                            was more extensive than previously revealed, reports the Macau
                                                                            Daily Times.
                                                                                 Between October 2008 and the end of 2009, the SAR government
                                                                            made five separate loans to the low-cost carrier, totalling MOP212
                                                                            million (US$26.5 million). Now it’s been revealed the government
                                                                            also gave the carrier MOP28 million to carry its advertising, and a
                                                                            further MOP7 million subsidy, with equivalent amounts also going to
                                                                            other airlines serving Macau.
                                                                                 The information came to light when Lau Sio Io, the Secretary for
                                                                            Transport and Public Works, and his officials attended the Legislative
     A Harrah’s Entertainment-operated hotel and casino will have a         Assembly recently to answer lawmakers’ questions surrounding the
first phase opening next June in Parañaque, a municipality of Manila,       airline’s failure.
in the Philippines, according to a local media report.                           During part of the time Viva Macau received its MOP212 million
     The local partners for the project are said to be Belle Corporation,   loans, William Ho (now deceased), a brother of the then Macau Chief
a developer of luxury residential and leisure properties, and Henry         Executive Edmund Ho, was a shareholder of Viva Macau.
Sy’s SM Group. The latter company was the developer of Manila’s                  In theory, the first MOP40 million repayment on Viva Macau’s
premier shopping centre, the Mall of Asia, and owns 35 other malls in       loan is due on 1st July this year, with another instalment due in
prime locations across the country..                                        May 2012. Whether the government will see any of that money may
                                                                            depend on the terms written into the loan deal and whether it was
                                                                            personally guaranteed by named shareholders. Otherwise, given
Illinois probes MGM Mirage deal with Pansy Ho                               that Viva Macau has ceased trading, the government simply becomes
     The Illinois Gaming Board                                              one of the company’s creditors and must take its place in line while
is investigating the Macau                                                  accountants see what, if anything, can be realised by disposal of Viva
casino partnership between                                                  Macau’s assets.
MGM MIRAGE and Pansy Ho
according to the Wall Street
Journal. The two parties jointly
own MGM Grand Macau—
recently rebranded as MGM
Macau.
     The Illinois board’s inquiry
follows a 17th March finding
by the New Jersey Division
of Gaming Enforcement that MGM MIRAGE’s link with Ms Ho wasn’t
acceptable under the state’s regulations. The US federal authorities
have repeatedly said that Ms Ho’s father, Dr Stanley Ho, has exposure
to Chinese organised crime groups that have allegedly infiltrated
some of the VIP rooms in his casinos.
     The Illinois inquiry is likely to focus on the fact that the MGM
Macau casino operates on a sub-licence from Dr Ho’s casino
operating company SJM sold to Ms Ho and her business partner
MGM MIRAGE. The suggestion is that the direct financial interest of Dr
Ho in the MGM Macau operation means Ms Ho is not truly operating            Lawmakers flying blind on Viva Macau

                                                                                                                    May 2010 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING   45
 Briefs




 International Briefs
                                                                           for the country’s new video lottery program. The company expects
                                                                           to begin shipping those games this year. Bally entered into long-
                                                                           term agreements with two of Italy’s VLT concessionaires to provide
                                                                           machines for the program being implemented throughout Italy in
                                                                           public venues.
                                                                               No price or sales figures were provided.
 Wynn pulls Philadelphia project                                               Bally Chief Operating Officer Gavin Isaacs said the deal with Italy
     Casino developer Steve                                                also includes gaming systems management products and server-
 Wynn has scrapped his                                                     based gaming tools.
 plans for what he described                                                   Analysts said investors had already taken into account Bally’s
 as the “cutest place we ever                                              reduced third-quarter figures.
 built” on a waterfront site                                                   According to Morgan Joseph gaming analyst Justin Sebastiano,
 along the Delaware River.                                                 the earnings decline reflected slower deployment of capital from
     On 8 thApril, in a two-                                               casinos in the quarter, forced closings of slot machines and weak
 paragraph statement after                                                 daily yields. He added game sales were down in the quarter as most
 the stock markets closed for The picturesque Delaware River               of those numbers are being pushed back until the following quarter,
 trading, Wynn said he was canceling plans for the project.                which marks the final quarter in the US financial year.
     “We are fascinated by the legalization of full gaming in
 Pennsylvania and stimulated by the opportunity that it presents for
 Wynn Resorts, but this particular project did not, in the end, present    Harrah’s reports Q1 loss
 an opportunity that was appropriate for our company,” Wynn said in             Harrah’s Entertainment posted a loss of US$195.6 million in
 the statement.                                                            the first quarter of 2010, mostly due to the lingering impact of
     Wynn declined comment beyond the statement.                           the recession on discretionary spending and continued payments
     The state and city were to have taken more than half of the new       on debt.
 casino’s slot revenues and 16% of its table game revenues as tax.              The loss was 47.4% greater than the $132.7 million loss posted in
     The news surprised Wynn’s partners in the project. Wynn became        the same quarter last year.
 the managing general partner in the casino site that was originally            Revenues slipped to $2.19 billion for the quarter ended
 called Foxwoods Casino Philadelphia because the partnership               March 31, a 13% decrease from the $2.54 billion posted in the
 included the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal National, which operates          year-ago quarter.
 the Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut.                                            Along with the impact of the recession on discretionary
     The project had been delayed for more than a year because             spending, the company also blamed downward pressure on room
 Foxwoods was unable to complete the financing.                            rates and severe winter weather in the Midwest and in the East for
     Most analysts said Wynn would be able to finance the casino easily.   the revenue decline.
     However, at a public hearing in March month in front of                    Property cash flow fell 12% to $493.7 million, down from the
 Philadelphia state regulators, Wynn was met with skepticism by            $561.3 million realized the same time last year.
 anti-gaming advocates, despite having gained support from local                In Las Vegas, the incremental revenues from the Planet
 building and trade unions.                                                Hollywood Resort acquisition in the quarter helped the company
     During a quarterly earnings conference call in February, Wynn         flatten out its revenues for the quarter.
 said the Philadelphia casino wouldn’t be “slots in a box. It will be a         Revenues declined less than 1% to $682.8 million from $686.4
 Wynn signature presentation with all the bells and whistles.” Wynn        million last year. Property cash flow slipped 3.9% to $190.9 million in
 had told analysts he had been spending “8 or 9 hours a day” working       the quarter from $198.6 million.
 on the project.                                                                The company owns nine hotel-casinos in Las Vegas, including
                                                                           Caesars Palace, Planet Hollywood Resort, Rio, Harrah’s Las Vegas,
                                                                           Paris Las Vegas, Bally’s, Flamingo, Imperial Palace and Bill’s.
 Bally earnings decline                                                         Harrah’s Entertainment paid $491.5 million in interest expense
     Las Vegas-based Bally                                                 on its debt load and $47.4 million on the early retirement of debt in
 Technologies reported net                                                 the quarter.
 income of US$23 million,
 or 39 cents per share, in the
 quarter ended March 31,                                                   IGT’s profit jumps
 down from net income of $30.6 million, or 52 cents per share, a year                                         International Game Technology
 earlier. The company took an impairment charge of $11.4 million,                                        (IGT) would have reported net profits
 or 13 cents per share, on its Alabama charitable bingo assets due to                                    for the second quarter that would have
 uncertainty in the market.                                                                              shocked Wall Street, if it did not have to
     Revenue fell 3.2% to $190.6 million from $196.8 million.                                            subtract restructuring charges and the
     Despite the lower numbers, Bally Chief Executive Officer Richard                                    costs to close its Japanese operations.
 Haddrill said the company made progress on its strategic initiatives.                                        Instead, the Reno-based slot
     Bally also announced a deal to provide 3,600 machines to Italy                                      machine giant had to settle for a 7%
46 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
                                                                                                                                              Briefs




increase in net income and a nearly 5% jump in quarterly revenues.
    For the quarter that ended March 31, IGT reported net income
of US$35.9 million, or 12 cents per share. For the same quarter a year
ago, the company reported net income of $33.6 million, or 11 cents
per share.
    The quarter was affected by restructuring charges of $16.1
million and a write-down of $1.9 million for obsolete equipment. The
$18 million charges cost 6 cents per share.
    Add in the costs of almost $7 million to close the Japan facilities,
and the second quarter would have shown net income of $60.6
million, or 20 cents per share.
    The company said it benefited from casinos that decided to
replace aging slot machines with new games.
    IGT said its revenues in the quarter were $497.7 million, up from
$475.7 million in the same quarter last year. IGT said it generated
57% of its revenues from operations where it shares in the slot
machine revenues with customers. The other 43% of the company’s
revenues, $213.1 million, came from product sales.
    “An improvement in replacement units shipped, an increase              The Bellagio
in gaming operations yields and a decline in costs all reflect IGT’s       expect those to accelerate in the second half of the year and into
continued efforts to navigate our business through an operating            2011,” Murren said. “Our forward bookings continue to improve as
environment which remains challenging,” IGT Chief Executive Officer        our convention bookings continue to gain traction.”
Patti Hart said in a statement.                                                 Murren said MGM Mirage is unveiling a comprehensive new
    Roth Capital Markets gaming analyst Todd Eilers said IGT               marketing effort for Aria in the coming weeks and he expects Aria’s
probably benefited from large casino openings in St. Louis and             occupancy to improve over the balance of the year.
Oklahoma. Combined, the two casinos total 5,000 slot machines                   MGM Mirage pointed toward improved results at the MGM Grand
from all manufacturers.                                                    Macau. The resort reported operating income of $49 million in the
    “IGT typically gets a larger market share of new openings than on      first quarter of 2010 compared to an operating loss of $5 million in
replacement sales,” Eilers said.                                           the same quarter of 2009.
                                                                                Meanwhile, MGM Mirage is asking shareholders to allow the
                                                                           company to change its name to MGM Resorts International.
MGM Mirage reports net loss of $96.7 million                                    But company officials were quick to point out today that the
     MGM Mirage lost US$96.7 million in the first quarter of 2010—         proposed name change does not mean The Mirage is on the market.
news that came as no surprise to Wall Street after the company pre-             The Strip casino giant told shareholders the proposed name
announced earnings last month.                                             reflects the company’s current vision and future growth. MGM Mirage,
     The casino giant, which operates 10 Strip resorts, said this          through its MGM Hospitality Division, has plans for nongaming hotel
morning the net loss translated into a loss of 22 cents per share for      brands in several international markets, including China, India and
the quarter that ended March 31. A year ago, MGM Mirage reported           the Middle East.
a net income of $105.2 million, or 38 cents a share.                            The company’s first international venture was the MGM Grand
     Companywide revenues were $1.46 billion, down from $1.5               Macau, which opened in December 2007.
billion a year ago.                                                             “MGM Resorts International better represents our company’s
     MGM Mirage confirmed that the $8.5 billion CityCenter                 growing global presence,” Jim Murren explained. “As a truly
development—owned and operated in a 50-50 joint venture with               international company, our name should clearly reflect that.
Dubai World—that opened in December, suffered an operating loss                 “This is a significant step and we don’t take it lightly,” Murren said.
of $255 million in the quarter, which included a $171 million non-              The company, originally known as MGM Grand Inc., became
cash impairment charge related to its residential inventory and other      MGM Mirage in 2000 after its $5.4 billion purchase of Mirage
expenses totaling $75 million. CityCenter reported net revenues of         Resorts, which gave the company ownership of such properties as
$260 million. MGM Mirage.                                                  The Mirage, Bellagio and the Beau Rivage in Biloxi, Miss.
     Aria, CityCenter’s centerpiece 4,004-room hotel casino,                    MGM Mirage briefly put The Mirage on the market in 2009
reported net revenue of $160 million and an operating loss of              as the company dealt with internal corporate financial issues.
$66 million, which included depreciation expense of $54 million.           However, the hotel-casino, which celebrated its 20th anniversary
Aria’s hotel occupancy percentage was 63% with an average daily            last year, is no longer for sale, said company spokesman Alan
room rate of $194.                                                         Feldman.
     In a statement, MGM Mirage Chairman and Chief Executive Officer            MGM Mirage spent more than $100 million to refurbish the resort
Jim Murren said CityCenter’s results were affected by weakness in the      prior to its anniversary celebration.
Las Vegas convention market. However, Murren is optimistic about                In 2005, the company spent $7.9 billion to acquire Mandalay
the rest of the year.                                                      Resort Group, which gave MGM Mirage ownership of the Mandalay
     “We see signs of improvement in the Las Vegas market and              Bay, Luxor and Excalibur resorts.
                                                                                                                      May 2010 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING   47
 Events Calendar




     Events Calendar
     A more comprehensive events listing is available on our website, www.asgam.com.


          8 - 10 June, 2010                                                               19 - 21 July, 2010
          G2E Asia                                                                        Casino Marketing: The 2010 Conference
          CotaiExpo, The Venetian Macao, Macau                                            Paris, Las Vegas, United States
          See and learn what’s new and what’s next in the Asian gaming                    Addresses marketing challenges across all facets of the gaming
          industry at the biggest and most important gaming event in                      industry, including commercial casinos, tribal casinos and
          Asia. The event includes an exhibition of leading manufacturers                 racetrack casinos.
          showcasing their latest products and world-class conference                     Contact:      Christine Faria
          tracks addressing the latest trends in Asian and global gaming.                 Tel:          775-329-7864
          Tel:         +852 28240330                                                      E-mail:       chris@ravingconsulting.com
          Website:     http://www.g2easia.com                                             Website:      www.casinomarketing2010.com


          14 - 16 July, 2010                                                              20 - 22 July, 2010
          World Gaming Executive Summit 2010                                              Sportbetting and Lotteries Asia
          Eurostars Madrid Tower, Madrid, Spain                                           Hyatt Regency, Hong Kong
          The only annual gaming conference that brings together senior-                  Asia’s only dedicated sportsbetting and lotteries returns to Hong
          level executives from both online and offline gaming operators.                 Kong in July, straight after the World Cup. Learn about the latest
          Website:      http://www.terrapinn.com/2010/gamingEU/                           developments in the Asian sportsbetting industry as well as
                                                                                          network with key operators from Asia and the rest of the world.
                                                                                          Website:      http://www.sportsbettingasiacongress.com/
          15 - 16 July, 2010
          Gaming Asia 2010
          Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
          This year’s premier exhibition for the gaming industry in
          Southeast Asia.
          Tel:         +65 6481 1968
          E-mail:      gae@comexpo.com.sg
          Website:     http://www.gamingasiaexpo.com/


          19 - 20 July, 2010
          Integrated Resorts & Entertainment
          Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
          Features highlights from leading global case studies and provides
          networking opportunities for professionals in the Integrated
          Resort & Entertainment field.
          Contact:     Ms Esther
          E-mail:      estherw@marcusevanskl.com
          Website:     http://www.marcusevans.com/




                      denotes events where Inside Asian Gaming will be available.   To list your event here and on our website, email dom@asgam.com.

48 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010
May 2010 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING   49
50 INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | May 2010

								
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