Tag Archives: Macau

Brazil seeks Macau’s ‘advice’ on resorts

Is Brazil about to open up to casinos? The idea was raised in a more than casual way at a forum being held in Macau this week.

As reported by Macau Daily Times, Marcelo Álvaro Antônio, Brazil’s Minister of Tourism, asked for feedback at the Global Tourism Economy Forum on his country’s plans to invite investors to open resorts and theme parks. In response, MGM China’s chairperson, Pansy Ho, said that from a gaming operator’s perspective, Brazil has all the basic requirements to open an integrated resort industry.

Ho, who is one of the chief organizers of the conference, made the comments during a press conference on Tuesday. According to Ho, Brazil should be able to develop similar types of integrated resorts to those built in Macau.

“I’m quite sure there will be some of the existing gaming operators that would be clearly interested [in investing],” she said.

That is possibly the understatement of the year. Although a staunchly Catholic country like, er, the Philippines, Brazil would be lucrative for Macau’s casinos, who are currently having to wait around for what seems like forever while Japan figures out what it wants them to do.

Read more details on MDT.

Macau pushes for Nasdaq-style offshore RMB market

The central government is giving serious consideration to a formal proposal submitted by Macau to establish a new kind of stock exchange in the Special Administrative Region. Traded in the offshore Renminbi, stocks listed on this exchange would be heavily weighted toward technology companies, much like the Nasdaq board in New York, and the recently established STAR Market in Shanghai.

It looks like this new market is part of a broader move within the region, if not the rest of country, to embrace diverse means of raising equity for Chinese companies. At the same time, Guangdong is looking into establishing a market like Shanghai’s STAR Market, in Guangzhou. And it has also applied formally to establish a Commodity Futures Exchange, like the Chicago equivalent, in Guangzhou’s Nansha district.

Could this be the start of a major push to get more Guangdong-based companies into the hands of equity investors? It certainly seems so, and there is huge upside room to move on this: just 1.8% of Guangdong’s 45,000 National-Level technology firms are publicly listed. Moreover, the person who revealed the details is just the kind of official to make this clear – and public.

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Macau revenues don’t match visitor growth

As we reported yesterday, Macau had a great Golden Week, with 13% more visitors coming in than last year. However, revenues at the casinos, which are still heavily weighted toward VIPs, were down, according to analysts quoted by GGRAsia.

Citing “channel checks” – a widely adopted euphemism for unofficial data culled from unnamed sources – these analysts speculated that gross gaming revenues for the week were down as much as 12% YoY.

However, there was a bright spot, these analysts reckon: the weighting toward low-margin VIP play is being reduced, as mass-market revenues grew strongly, by between 8% and 10%. In other words, more headcounts means more gamblers who don’t have the clout (or the sense) to ask for rebates and commissions, thereby ensuring the casinos healthier margins.

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New Macau chief sees ‘historical problems’ with casinos

Ho Iat Seng, Macau’s new Chief Executive-designate, has made his first remarks on the issue of the gaming concessions, telling reporters that he is keen to resolve their “historical problems”. 

Speaking to the media after getting a warm pat on the back by President Xi Jinping, who appointed him the third CE of Macau since the 1999 handover, Ho said he was keen to see the law take the lead in dealing with the imminent expiry and retendering process of the concessions, rather than using executive orders. 

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Macau gaming revenue falls

Macau’s gross gaming revenues are back in negative territory, thanks to slowing demand at the high end. The July tally came in at MOP$24.5 billion, down 3.5% YoY, surprising many analysts. This followed positive growth in May and June, which had led to expectations rising of the industry getting back on a positive upward trend.

We are not surprised. Since a Xinhua affiliate published a report recently on offshore online-gambling websites run by some of Macau’s biggest junkets – a report they deny – a drop in VIP play was inevitable. The central government’s Ministry of Public Security has made very clear they regard these online-gaming operations as a threat to national security. 

Read more on ggrasia.com.

GBA to establish ‘financial dispute mediation cooperation mechanism’

On Thursday, Zhuhai’s Hengqin hosted the GBA Financial Dispute Mediation Cooperation Forum. In attendance were representatives from regulatory authorities and financial dispute mediation centers from Hong Kong, Macau and GuangdongThe parties have also signed a cooperation framework on cross-border financial dispute mediation.  

Is this the beginning of long-awaited “integration” across the GBA’s three jurisdictions in the area of law enforcement? It might be a long way off, but this does appear to be some kind of tentative start. 

Earlier this month, Guangdong released a directive in which it highlighted the importance to push forward financial interconnectivity among the three regions in order to “build an international financial hub”.  

“Because the Greater Bay Area is built on one country, two systems and three jurisdictions, it has great differences in legal framework and economic systems,” said Bai Hexiang, president of the People’s Bank of ChinaGuangzhou Branch. “To solve financial disputes in the three regions through traditional litigation will face the challenges of judicial differences, which will become a time-consuming and costly process. 

It is of great significance to establish a financial dispute mediation cooperation mechanism between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau, Bai said. He suggested to learn from the more mature financial dispute resolution system that Hong Kong, Macau and other developed economies have adopted and to establish a jointly recognized cooperation mechanism among the regions to protect the rights and interests of the consumers and enhance the quality of financial servicein the Greater Bay Area.  

The World Trade Center Macau Arbitration Center, the Guangzhou Financial Consumption Dispute Resolution Center, The Shenzhen Consumer Rights Protection and representatives from the financial dispute centers in Zhuhai, Foshan, Huizhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Jiangmen and Zhaoqing signed the framework agreement. The cooperation will involve the establishment of a liaison mechanism, a financial dispute mediation cooperation mechanism and a joint research mechanism. 

Macau sees property sales plunge in first half

Something strange is happening in Macau’s property market. After a rapid expansion period in 2017 and a cooling off last year, residential sales, which usually follow gaming revenue trends, saw a sharp fall in the first half of this year. Transactions plunged 42.2% YoY, according to DSF statistics. Offices did slightly better, but retail space also took a knock. This is despite the influx of visitors, which were up nearly 25%, and the stabilization of gaming revenues, which were slightly positive.

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Macau chooses new legislative head

Macau’s Chief Executive-in-waiting, Hou Iat Seng, had his recently vacated seat atop the Legislative Assembly filled by veteran legislator Kou Hoi In yesterday. As the Macau Daily Timespoints out, Kou was a natural choice for the position, as he was already First Secretary. However, he had not been acting in the top post since Ho resigned to run for the CE office. The current Deputy President, Chui Sai Cheong, had been in the acting position. It would appear that the majority of legislators decided that it would not be proper for Chui to take the position while his brother, Chui Sai On, was still in the Chief Executive’s office.

If that sounds like too much inside-baseball, dear reader, all you need to understand is this: The Chui, Ho and Ma clans have run Macau’s commercial and civil society between them for many decades, first under the Portuguese, then for the past 20 years since Macau’s return to China. It was natural, therefore, to have expected one of the Chui clan to take the top legislative position ahead of his brother vacating the CE’s office. But it didn’t happen. 

Has the grip of the Big Three on Macau’s power politics been broken? December 20 will be the first time the clans have not had a member in either of Macau’s two top posts since 1999. Let’s see what happens thereafter. The head of the Ho clan, former CE Edmund Ho, is still the vice chairman of the CPPCC. 

Macau gaming regulator keeps calm, carries on

Ever since the story broke 10 days ago on Macau’s Suncity junket aggregator being named as a major money-launderer, media attention has been increasing on Macau’s gaming regulator, known by its Portuguese acronym DICJ. The DICJ responded yesterday by announcing it was not investigatingany further the allegations by mainland state-run media that Suncity operates illegal cross-border gambling networks. 

The article by a Xinhua subsidiary had named Suncity boss Alvin Chau as the mastermind of the online-gambling industry, which is apparently targeting mainland customers via online sites based in Southeast Asian countries. The article put a staggering number on the scale of the industry: RMB1 trillion annually.

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