Packer Gambling On 3rd Macau Casino, by Greg Tingle
- 18th June 2011
Macau casino joint venture plans to build a massive
$US2.5 billion ($2.3bn) casino resort...the group's
lucky third in the Chinese territory. This will see
them look capitalise on surging gaming revenues in
the red hot part of the world.
Crown Entertainment yesterday signed off on a $US360
million deal to gain control of the Macau Studio City
project, an "integrated resort project"
on hold since the global financial crisis and in planning
for more than 10 years.
firms chief executive, Lawrence Ho, advised the property's
theme and demographic target focus would be differentiated
from the company's existing Macau property assets,
the City of Dreams and the Altira Macau.
is due to start early next year and it is believed
the partners have no plans for an equity issue to
fund the project.
believe Macau Studio City's existing land grant and
previously completed site work will allow us to significantly
expedite its construction timetable," Ho told
the press yesterday.
will be Melco Crown's second project on Macau's Cotai
strip, a vast stretch of reclaimed land situated between
the islands of Taipa and Coloane that land based casino
developers in Macau, such as Ho and Packer, are promoting
as the orient's answer to the Las Vegas strip aka
"Sin City". City of Dreams is in Cotai.
year, Ho said Melco Crown was prepared to build more
casino resort developments in Macau and elsewhere
in Asia. Packer's Crown holds a 33.4% stake in Melco
Studio City site is one of the last prime land sites
available in Macau for development.
is located at the Lotus Bridge immigration point,
making it the virgin resort that tourists encounter
via entering Cotai.
the financial meltdown, Melco Crown had a management
arrangement with Studio City's owners to run the casino
at the site, but elected to take control of the project
after it became troublesome for the owners to properly
fund it within the prior structure.
Crown is understood to have codenamed the deal Project
deal ends 3 long years of delays caused by legal matters
and a range of dramas between the Hong Kong and US
City was previously owned by a joint venture between
Hong Kong-listed entertainment company eSun Holdings
and New Cotai Holdings, an entity controlled by funds
managed by US firms Silver Point Capital and Oaktree
Cotai Holdings will hold a 40% stake.
Crown will pay New Cotai $US100m in 3 instalments
over two years.
the financial crunch, the casino development was to
have included a specially designed 4000-seat arena,
a 2300-seat theatre, Asia's first "Playboy Mansion"
and 4 new classy hotels - a Ritz-Carlton, a W Hotel,
a Marriott and the world's first Tang Hotel.
month, Macau gaming revenues rose 42.4% to a record
$US3.03bn, what Vegas casino operators dream of.
were rocketed by the opening of Galaxy Entertainment
Group's $US2bn resort development at Cotai, which
is nearby to the City of Dreams.
remain bullish on Macau's prospects and believe high-quality
new supply, such as Macau Studio City, will continue
to drive incremental demand," Ho said.
Man has been speaking to property and gaming experts
about the Packer - Macau developments, with 95% believing
that the latest Packer Macau project with be a "good
to great business and investment".
good punting, know your limits and bet with your head,
not over it.
Packer Crown Casino Whale Talks Tourism, by Greg Tingle
- 19th March 2011
foremost gambling tycoon, James Packer, is growing
tied of the Australian government's lack of action
in improving the tourism sector, which in return effects
his casino tourism arm, with the high rollers, schools
of "whales", super dolphins and the like
tipping to be swimming more for oriental waters, rather
than down under Pacific Ocean way. Yep, that's the
general school of thought.
is continuing a roaring trade in the casino and resort
tourism dollar, and insiders think this this may be
beginning to really snatch away some potential business
from Melbourne's Crown Casino and Burswood, which
now boasts two of the most valuable and profitable
integrated casino resorts in the world, Packer says
the time for talk is over.
of the problems for state and federal governments
of both political persuasions in Australia is that
no one sets any key performance indicators for tourism,"
he told Rupert Murdoch publication, The Weekend Australian.
lets people muddle about on things with good intentions
without ever actually making the rubber hit the road.
Whereas in Singapore, it is all about the rubber hitting
are a country that used to get the same number of
tourists as Australia, around 5 million. They are
now at 11 million tourists. We are at 5 million. And
they have stated publicly that they have an aim and
ambition that they will receive 17 million tourists
has bragging rights of 13 consecutive months of record
visitor numbers, achieving its highest visitor arrivals
for a single month in December with 1.1 million visitors,
16% up on last year.
tip the main attribute in seeing Singapore's big numbers
is last year's launch of the $4.4 billion Resorts
World Sentosa casino and the $5.94bn Marina Bay Sands,
the second most expensive casino in the world.
casino resorts are understood to have accounted for
1.7% of Singapore's nominal gross domestic product
last year when GDP leap frogged 14.7%.
has a few more reasons than the average Joe to be
a bit worried about the rise of the Singapore dragons
(no offence to dragons, including dragons in training
or Singaporeans). Singapore is writing the "who
to" book and blueprint on casino tourism, just
when many experts thought Macau were the experts.
Singapore dragons wrath on the regional casino market
gave birth to an 8% dip in VIP turnover at Packer's
two dinkum Aussie casinos, Crown in Melbourne and
Burswood in Perth, in the 6 months to December 31.
Burswood really felt the pain, with VIP whale revenue
down 14.3% compared with Crown's 5.5 % dive.
states 15% of its casino revenues comes from high-rollers.
That's a considerable amount.
points to the way Australia sells itself to the world,
and specifically affluent Asians, as a tourist destination,
and he chooses his words carefully.
are not saying it is the government's fault. We are
saying we would like to work with the government to
try and make Australia a more attractive and compelling
and successful tourism destination".
recent Japanese natural disasters, along with our
our own floods and cyclones in Queensland, are expected
to put increased pressure on Japanese tourism, the
fifth-largest provider of inbound tourists to Australia
behind New Zealand, Britain, the US and China.
all thought the Oprah exercise (where Tourism Australia
last year paid $1.5m for 100 minutes of US exposure
on Oprah Winfrey's TV chat show) was fantastic, but
when I was in America just recently I saw an advertisement
with three Americans in a Land Rover driving around
a paddock watching kangaroos. And I thought to myself,
it is a lovely image but to be kind, it is very niche,"
says Crown wants more from what he terms his "silent
total taxes we paid last year to the three levels
of government...federal, state and municipal...was
well over double our net profit after tax. We believe
we are investing in our businesses, providing the
government with an excellent economic return for our
licences and we also think we are working hard to
ensure that our other stakeholders benefit from our
business," he says.
government is doing very well being the silent majority
partner of our company and we are competing against
some of the biggest and most successful companies
in the world and what we are trying to do is bring
more people to Australia to spend money and conduct
economic activity here."
and competitor Tabcorp Holdings, owner of 'Sin City'
Sydney's Star City and the Gold Coast's Jupiters casinos,
are spending billions of dollars on big capital expenditure
programs, including revamped VIP gaming facilities,
hotels, lear jets and more.
impression is that we have spent more on capital expenditure
in the past five years than any non-mining industrial
company in Australia," Packer says. "I think
there is a perception out there that these businesses
are licences to print money. They are terrific businesses,
but they are not that. These businesses have a very
significant ongoing capex requirement, which places
limits on the real cash available to be returned to
not particularly well known fact is that last year,
Crown received the Employer of the Year award at the
Australian Government's Australian Training Awards.
call for a more integrated tourism strategy for Australia
is fully supported by Tourism Australia chairman and
ex Qantas chief executive Geoff Dixon, who is also
on the Crown board. "While I am obviously a director
of Crown, it doesn't change the fact that our integrated
resorts in Australia must be competitive with those
in Asia, especially Singapore," Dixon says.
is not just about Crown, it is about...the other integrated
resort casinos within Australia."
Crown and Tabcorp are seeking is additional assistance
from government and the private sector on co-ordinating
visa access and improving facilities at airports for
VIP high roller tourists.
Singapore, high rolling whales are greeted by officials
at Changi airport, and promptly escorted through a
private lounge area for fast-tracked customs and immigration
have started some initial discussions with Melbourne
and Perth airports, and they are quite interested
in the concept," says Crown chief executive Rowen
Craigie. He advised there have been communications
with government and the state and federal tourism
authorities. "The doors seem to be open,"
he says confidently.
Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson agrees casinos have
an important role to play in the nation's tourism
strategies, as well he should, but he states there
needs to be more research before major decisions are
taken that affect the sector.
attract high-yield visitors that spend on average
double that of other international visitors,"
both our marketing efforts such as the $150m global
'There's Nothing Like Australia' campaign and the
National Long Term Tourism Strategy, we will continue
to work closely with casinos, airlines, hotels, tour
operators and the many other hundreds of thousands
of small businesses in the tourism sector to ensure
Australia remains competitive as a tourism destination.
requires encouraging investment in new stock, finding
the right staff and reducing barriers to their employment
in the sector, while providing comprehensive research
to allow informed decisions to be taken."
and restaurant owner Neil Perry, also a mate and business
associate of Packer, whose "lucky" seven
Australian restaurants include outlets at Crown and
I am focused on local clientele, we need a good mix
of international tourists to keep this business vibrant,"
tourists account for $2.8bn to the Australian tourism
industry and by 2017 analysts expect that market will
be worth about $5.5bn.
Singapore and Malaysia are also developing markets
January, Chinese tourists jumped 63% for the month,
largely a spin off from Chinese New Year celebrations
falling in February. Hong Kong visits were up 26%
and Malaysia 25%.
times like these Packer must be glad his had a global
strategy in place, and is not totally at the mercy
of the Australian market.
and his time are also further developing online gaming
and revenue aspects of Crown Limited, as well as getting
his 50% Betfair better stocked with more online gaming
offerings, acutely aware of recession resistance online
based businesses like PartyGaming and also watching
his mate, Richard Branson, take his airline, tourism,
communication and gaming business to the next level.
bet against Packer, but the smart money from betting
agencies says that its safe to bet against the Australian
state and federal government - with Labor set to fall,
and a new and motivated Liberal - Nationals coalition
ready to impress the people and the business sector
Media Man spokesperson said 'There's no doubt that
the Oprah Winfrey effect has some positive spin off
for Australian tourism, certainly awareness leaped.
Just hoe much different was made to the bottom line
thanks to O is unclear. James Packer makes a good
point about Australian tourism. We have a lot more
to offer than just kangaroos. Bondi Beach is great,
but so are casinos like Crown and Burswood, and our
sports tourism and events are always, and how about
our Aboriginal heritage. We are world class. More
people need to help give the Australian government
the message. Casinos are an idea place to help keep
things going in the right direction, with all of the
tourists, smart money and entertainment to be found."
Magazine Rejects James Packer Interview Rumour...
Media Group, publishers of the influential and highly-regarded
business publication, The CEO Magazine, have today
refused to confirm reports that The CEO Magazine will
be conducting an exclusive interview with Australian
businessman, James Packer. The CEO Magazine is Australia's
leading business magazine focused directly at high-level
executives in Australian companies. The CEO Magazine
is a bi-monthly title that provides its readers with
a wealth of articles discussing business strategy,
expert opinion, analysis, corporate case studies,
emerging trends, leadership, growth opportunities
and challenges facing our country's leading business
leaders. The CEO Magazine explores how Australian
businesses can improve the way they manage their operations,
staff, technology and supply chains with a view to
creating a more profitable and successful business.
Whilst The CEO Magazine is extremely meticulous in
selection for interviews within the title, rumours
of a one-on-one interview with James Packer have surfaced
this week. "Due to the high profile nature of
The CEO Magazine, it is impossible for us to confirm
who will be included in upcoming magazines until publication
date. Content is kept strictly between the publisher
and any leading senior executive that have been chosen
for selection," said a spokesperson for publisher,
Bean Media Group. The next issue of The CEO Magazine
is due out next month. About The CEO Magazine, Australia's
leading business title specifically for high-level
and senior executives. The publisher of The CEO Magazine
is Bean Media Group, a multi-award-winning media company
based in Sydney, Australia
In Macau, Macao Peninsula
Casa Real Casino
Casino Crystal Palace
Casino de Presidente
Casino Macau Palace
Emperor Palace Casino
Galaxy Rio Casino
Galaxy Waldo Hotel & Casino
Golden Dragon Casino
Jai Alai Casino
Kam Pek Arabian's Night Casino
Kam Pek Casino de Louvre
Kingsway Hotel & Casino
Mandarin Oriental Casino
MGM Grand Macau
Mona Lisa Casino
Pharaoh's Palace Casino
The Legend Club
Galaxy Grand Waldo Casino
Grandview Casino/Macau Jockey Club Casino
New Century Hotel & Casino/Greek Mythology Casino
City of Dreams (May, 2009)
Far East Consortium Complex (planned)
Four Seasons (2009)
Galaxy Mega Resort (2008)
Macau Studio City (2009)
The Venetian Macao
Macau Special Administrative Region, commonly known
as Macau or Macao , is one of the two special administrative
regions of the People's Republic of China, the other
being Hong Kong. Macau lies on the western side of
the Pearl River Delta, bordering Guangdong province
in the north and facing the South China Sea in the
east and south. The territory has thriving industries
such as textiles, electronics and toys, and a notable
tourist industry that boasts a wide range of hotels,
resorts, stadiums, restaurants and casinos.
was both the oldest and the last European colony in
China. Portuguese traders first settled in Macau in
the 16th century and subsequently administered the
region until the handover on December 20, 1999. The
Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration and the Basic Law
of Macau stipulate that Macau operates with a high
degree of autonomy until at least 2049, fifty years
after the transfer. Under the policy of "one
country, two systems", the Central People's Government
is responsible for the territory's defence and foreign
affairs, while Macau maintains its own legal system,
police force, monetary system, customs policy, immigration
policy, and delegates to international organisations
economy is based largely on tourism, much of it geared
toward gambling. Other chief economic activities in
Macau are export-geared textile and garment manufacturing,
banking and other financial services. The clothing
industry has provided about three quarters of export
earnings, and the gaming, tourism and hospitality
industry is estimated to contribute more than 50%
of Macau's GDP, and 70% of Macau government revenue.
is a founding member of the WTO and has maintained
sound economic and trade relations with more than
120 countries and regions, with European Union and
Portuguese-speaking countries in particular; Macau
is also a member of the IMF.] World Bank classifies
Macau as a high income economy and the GDP per capita
of the region in 2006 was US$28,436. After the Handover
in 1999, there has been a rapid rise in the number
of mainland visitors due to China's easing of travel
restrictions. Together with the liberalization of
Macau's gaming industry in 2001 that induces significant
investment inflows, the average growth rate of the
economy between 2001 and 2006 is approximately 13.1%
a World Tourism Organization report of international
tourism statistics for 2006, Macau ranked 21st in
terms of tourist arrivals and 24th in terms of tourism
receipts. From 9.1 million visitors in 2000, arrivals
to Macau has grown to 18.7 million visitors in 2005
and 22 million visitors in 2006, with over 50% of
the arrivals coming from mainland China and another
30% from Hong Kong. Macau is expected to receive between
24 and 25 million visitors in 2007. Since the Handover,
Triad underworld violence, a deterring factor for
tourists, has virtually disappeared, to the benefit
of the tourism sector.
in 1962, the gambling industry had been operated under
a government-issued monopoly license by Stanley Ho's
Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau.
The monopoly ended in 2002, and several casino owners
from Las Vegas attempted to enter the market. With
the opening of the Sands Macau, the largest casino
in the world as measured by total number of table
games, in 2004 and Wynn Macau in 2006, gambling revenues
from Macau's casinos were for the first time greater
than those of Las Vegas Strip (each about $6 billion),
making Macau the highest-volume gambling centre in
the world. In 2007, Venetian Macau, the second largest
building in the world, opened its doors to the public,
followed by MGM Grand Macau. Numerous other hotel
casinos, including Galaxy Cotai Megaresort and Ponte
16, are also to be opened in near future.
2002, the Macau government ended the monopoly system
and six casino operating concessions and subconcessions
are granted to Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões
de Macau, Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, Galaxy Entertainment
Group, the partnership of MGM Mirage and Pansy Ho
Chiu-king, and the partnership of Melco and PBL. Today,
there are 16 casinos operated by the STDM, and they
are still crucial in the casino industry in Macau,
but in 2004, the opening of the Sands Macau ushered
in the new era.
is an offshore financial centre, a tax haven, and
a free port with no foreign exchange control regimes.
The offshore finance business is regulated and supervised
by the Monetary Authority of Macau, while the regulation
and supervision of the offshore non-finance business
is mainly controlled by the Macau Trade and Investment
Promotion Institute.In 2007, Moody's Investors Service
upgraded Macau's foreign and local currency government
issuer ratings to 'Aa3' from 'A1', citing its government's
solid finances as a large net creditor. The rating
agency also upgraded Macau's foreign currency bank
deposit ceiling to 'Aa3' from 'A1'.
prescribed by the Macau Basic Law, the government
follows the principle of keeping expenditure within
the limits of revenues in drawing up its budget, and
strive to achieve a fiscal balance, avoid deficits
and keep the budget commensurate with the growth rate
of its gross domestic product. All the financial revenues
of the Macau Special Administrative Region shall be
managed and controlled by the Region itself and shall
not be handed over to the Central People's Government.
The Central People's Government shall not levy any
taxes in the Macau Special Administrative Region.
Wynn is a man who not only makes the preposterous
possible, but also profitable.
The casino mogul and billionaire turned Las Vegas
from a strip of gambling dens into a global attraction,
helping to foster the Vegas ideal that it is a place
consenting adults can see and do just about anything
imaginable (plus, of course, gamble 24-hours a day).
that happens to include watching erupting volcanoes
and full-size pirate ship battles, then you can thank
Steve Wynn personally; he opened The Mirage, complete
with 50-feet-tall volcano, in 1989 and Treasure Island
four years later. The Bellagio followed in 1998 with
an indoor lake, dancing fountains, high-end boutiques
and an art gallery.
A keen art collector himself, Wynn owns one of only
39 Vermeer paintings and hangs it in his office.
opulence and priceless pieces of art, however, are
a long way from where Wynn began.
was 20 when he inherited the family bingo parlor business
in Maryland. But it was an encounter with Frank Sinatra
in Las Vegas that made him want to move to the desert.
to a private performance by the late singer, Wynn
recalls in his interview with Anjali Rao: "There
they were, eight feet away and full of it. There was
no comparable thing today about the glamour of that.
And at that moment, I was hooked. I wanted to be a
part of the Las Vegas scene."
finally moved there with wife Elaine in 1967, starting
out as an executive and part owner of the Frontier
was after some shrewd moves in the property market
-- including selling on a lot bought from billionaire
recluse Howard Hughes for $1 million profit -- that
seven years later he became part of the scene at the
age of 32 when be bought the Golden Nugget.
becoming the youngest casino owner in the U.S. and
pioneering the big and brash revival Las Vegas in
the late 1980's, he has been quick to change tack
with his latest generation of mega-casinos where it's
less about things to see and more about an experience
- natural light, of all things, is a prominent feature,
in the Wynn Las Vegas that opened in 2005.
It's still on a grand scale, like the Wynn Macau his
latest venture, which is set to be followed by two
more casinos in the former-Portuguese colony. Wynn
hopes his Asian flagship will tap into China and the
regions expanding middle classes.
pent-up demand for the good life in China is extraordinary,"
he told Anjali Rao.