Posts Tagged ‘Macau’

August 14, 2013

Caesars Officially Bails out of China

Sells off lonely Macau golf course for $438 million

Caesars bought 5 percent of an entire Chinese city with hopes of opening a new casino. But don't expect to see a WSOP Macau anytime soon. [Image: Macau.com]

Pulling the flag? Caesars bought 5 percent of an entire Chinese city with hopes of opening a new casino. But don’t expect to see WSOP Macau on TV anytime soon. [Image: Macau.com]

Caesars Entertainment Corp. on Friday ended the company’s nearly six-year flirtation with Macau.

The casino operator sold its 175-acre golf course near the Chinese gaming enclave’s Cotai Strip region for $438 million to an Asian developer.

The deal, which was disclosed within the company’s quarterly report filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, is expected to close by the end of the year.

Caesars said it entered into a purchase agreement [last] week with Pearl Dynasty Investments Ltd. The buyer paid Caesars $65.7 million as a deposit for the land. Caesars can retain 10 percent of the purchase price, $43.8 million, if the deal collapses.

The company said it would use the proceeds from the transaction, which it estimates to be $420 million, to pay down debt. Caesars Entertainment has a gaming industry-high of $23.7 billion in long-term debt.

The company did not comment on the deal beyond the SEC filing.

In 2007, Caesars, which does not have a Macau gaming license, paid $578 million for the land, the site of the Macau Golf Course, with the intent to develop a hotel-casino complex.

But the Macau government never awarded additional gaming concessions and has not shown intent to increase the number of licenses beyond the current six concessions and sub-concessions.

Caesars, then known as Harrah’s Entertainment, never submitted an application in the Macau licensing process in 2001 after the Chinese government ended a 40-year monopoly in Macau that was controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Stanley Ho.

MGM Resorts International, Wynn Resorts Ltd. and Las Vegas Sands Corp. all operate resorts developments in Macau.

Caesars Entertainment Chairman Gary Loveman, who turned down a deal to acquire Wynn’s sub-concession in 2006, has said not entering the Macau gaming market was the biggest mistake the company ever made.

Macau gaming revenue was a record $38 billion in 2012, more than six times the revenue produced by Las Vegas casinos. The Macau gaming market is up 16 percent through the first seven months of 2013.

Caesars renamed the development Caesars Golf. Last year, the company took a $101 million write-down on the land when it put up the site for sale.

Shares of Caesars closed at $18.36 on the Nasdaq Global Select, up 75 cents or 4.26 percent. Caesars stock has more than doubled in value this year, and at one point Friday, reached an all-time high of $18.76.

Caesars is in the process of spinning off Planet Hollywood Resort, its interactive gaming business and a planned Baltimore casino into a separate company majority owned by the gambling giant.

In an SEC filing in July, company officials said they would raise $1.18 billion from selling stock for the new public entity.


Contact reporter Howard Stutz at hstutz@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3871. Follow @howardstutz on Twitter.


July 11, 2013

More Rungood for Macau

Analysts see more than $3.5 billion a month in Chinese gaming revenue

Macau gaming revenue grew 21.1 percent in June, as the world’s largest casino market continues to benefit from a nonstop supply of middle-class Chinese gamblers eager to place their bets in the former Portuguese colony.

Gambling revenue in the Chinese territory, just across the strait from Hong Kong, rose to $3.54 billion, according to figures released Monday by the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. Analysts had forecast June growth to be up 18 percent to 22 percent.

Macau is the only place in China where people can legally gamble at casinos.

In May, revenues grew 13.5 percent to $3.7 billion, the second-largest single month collection ever recorded in Macau. The Chinese gambling enclave broke its monthly gaming revenue mark in March when casinos collected $3.92 billion.

Harry Curtis, an analyst with Nomura Equity Research, attributed the monthly numbers to a “stronger-than-expected final week” of June, as the “mass market headcount remains strong.”

There are two types of gamblers in Macau — mass market, which are mainly middle-class workers from China and elsewhere in Asia, and VIP or so-called high rollers.

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May 14, 2013

Las Vegas Sands Sees Record Q1 Profit of $572 million

Singapore, China dominance key in Adelson's latest win

SheldonAdelsonLas Vegas Sands Corp., the gaming company controlled by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, reported first-quarter earnings Wednesday that easily surpassed analysts’ estimates as growth at its Macau properties accelerated.

The casino company last year increased its share of the Macau market with the opening of Sands Cotai Central, its fourth casino in the Chinese gambling enclave. Las Vegas Sands is building The Parisian, its second Cotai Strip resort at a cost of $3 billion.

The Parisian is scheduled to open in late 2015. Adelson told analysts in a conference Wednesday the company is seeking government approval to build its Tropical Garden retail mall in Cotai, a development with 900,000 square feet of “value oriented retail.”

Las Vegas Sands net income for the quarter was $572 million, or 69 cents per share, compared with $498.9 million, or 61 cents per shares, in the first quarter of 2012. Analysts surveyed by Yahoo Finance expected earnings of 67 cents.

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April 10, 2013

Macau Sees Record Gaming Revenues in March

$3.9 billion in just a month

Macau CasinoAny predictions of a slowdown in Macau’s gaming market are long forgotten.

The Chinese gaming enclave shattered the region’s monthly gaming revenue record in March, with casinos collecting more than $3.92 billion from gamblers during the month.

The figure eclipsed the previous one-month record of $3.5 billion in gaming revenues, which was set in December. The March total accounted for a 25.4 percent increase over the amount casinos collected in March 2012.

The monthly results were released Tuesday by the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. The March total is the best year-over-year growth rate since January 2012, when gaming revenues increased by 35 percent.

Las Vegas Sands Corp., MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts Ltd. are the three American casino companies operating in Macau.

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March 9, 2013

Gaming Revenues Surging in Macau

$3.4 billion in February; a boon to Vegas casino companies

Macau CasinoMacau casinos collected $3.4 billion in gaming revenues during February, a 12 percent increase compared with a year ago, according to figures released Friday by the Macau Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.

For the first two months of 2013, Macau gaming revenues are up 9.4 percent over the same period in 2012.

Last year, Macau collected a record-setting $38 billion in gaming revenues.

RBC Capital Markets gaming analyst John Kempf told investors the February results “were encouraging” after the start of the Chinese New Year celebration during the month was slower than anticipated.

“It is likely that VIP volumes increased post Chinese New Year as the players avoided the crowds and extended their holiday past the typical seven to 10 days,” Kempf said.

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March 7, 2013

Las Vegas Sands Disputes Chinese Bribery Allegations

DOJ, SEC investigations ongoing, along with anti-Adelson media bias?

SheldonAdelsonLas Vegas Sands Corp. called media accounts of the company’s self-reporting that it may have violated federal law that bans the bribing of foreign public officials “misleading and sensationalistic.”

In a statement released Sunday night, the casino operator, which is more than 53 percent owned by billionaire Sheldon Adelson, said it did not violate the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

On Friday, Las Vegas Sands, in a one-sentence statement within the company’s annual report filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, said its audit committee found possible violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

“As part of the annual audit of the company’s financial statements, the Audit Committee advised the company and its independent accountants that it had reached certain preliminary findings, including that there were likely violations of the books and records and internal controls provisions of the FCPA,” Las Vegas Sands said in its Form 10-K filing.

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March 6, 2013

Inside Gaming: PokerStars on a Hot Streak

But will new law keep them out of Nevada?

pokerstars logoOnline gaming giant PokerStars folded its hand last summer after a 15-month legal battle with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Since that time the company has been on a heater.

It was the right call for PokerStars to accept a $731 million forfeiture to the federal government and shed a nine-count indictment. The settlement also absolved PokerStars of any wrongdoing in accepting Internet wagers from American customers.

PokerStars, through its Isle of Man-based parent The Rational Group, said in January it was buying a casino in Atlantic City. On Feb. 21, it announced plans to open a live-play poker room at the City of Dreams in Macau, while its online business grew to more than 50 million registered customers through legal Internet gaming markets.

The only place PokerStars can’t earn a seat at the table is Nevada.

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March 4, 2013

Macau #1, Vegas #2, Singapore #3

LV Strip holds its spot among biggest global gaming markets

Las Vegas StripDespite predictions two years ago, Singapore did not surpass the Strip as the world’s No. 2 gaming market in 2012.

And it might not happen this year, according to one gaming analyst.

The island nation’s two casinos produced $5.85 billion in gaming revenues in 2012, an 8 percent increase over 2011. That figure fell short of the $6.2 billion produced by the Strip’s more than 40 casinos.

Macau is the world’s largest casino market with $38 billion in gaming revenues in 2012.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. operates the Marina Bay Sands, which collected 2012 gaming revenues of $2.94 billion. Malaysia-based Genting, which owns Resorts World Sentosa Island, Friday reported $2.91 billion in gaming revenues, as part of the company’s fourth-quarter earnings announcement.

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February 28, 2013

Crotchety Billionaire Problems: Adelson Sues Reporter for Libel

WSJ poker writer assisted with offending article

SheldonAdelsonLas Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman Sheldon Adelson has sued a Wall Street Journal reporter for alleged libel over the way he was described in a December article concerning his company’s legal battle with its former Macau operations chief executive.

According to the newspaper, Adelson filed the lawsuit Feb. 22 in Hong Kong’s Court of First Instance and is seeking “damages, including aggravated, exemplary and special damages.”

The article ran under the headline “Fired Executive Rankles Casino Industry” in the U.S. edition of the newspaper and appeared in overseas editions as well as online.

The article compared Steven Jacobs as “a 6-foot-5-inch-tall Ivy League graduate who colleagues say rarely curses,” with Adelson, described as “a scrappy, foul-mouthed billionaire from working-class Dorchester, Mass.”

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February 27, 2013

Singapore Surging

Gaming revenues for Genting and Sands hit $5.85 billion in 2012

Marina Bay Sands Singapore

Marina Bay Sands Singapore

Singapore didn’t pass Las Vegas as the world’s No. 2 gaming market in 2012, and might not happen this year, said one gaming analyst.

The island nation’s two casinos produced $5.85 billion in gaming revenues in 2012, an 8 percent increase over 2011. The figure fell short of the $6.2 billion produced by the Strip’s more than 40 casinos.

Macau is the world’s largest casino market with $38 billion in gaming revenues in 2012.

Las Vegas Sands Corp. operates the Marina Bay Sands, which collected $2.94 billion in gaming revenues in 2012. Malaysia-based Genting, which owns Resorts World Sentosa Island, reported $2.91 billion in gaming revenues Friday, as part of the company’s fourth quarter earnings announcement.

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January 28, 2013

Las Vegas Sands Cuts off International Money Transfers

High-roller convenience curtailed amid DOJ investigation

LasVegasSandsNevada’s top gaming regulator said Friday his agency was aware of changes Las Vegas Sands Corp. implemented to its compliance procedures and expected other companies, both inside and outside the gaming industry, would take similar steps.

Las Vegas Sands, which operates casinos in Macau and Singapore, as well as The Venetian and Palazzo resorts on the Strip, halted the execution of international money transfers for its high-end customers, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

The moves came as the casino operator faces scrutiny from U.S. and international regulators, people familiar with the matter told the newspaper.

Las Vegas Sands and Wynn Resorts Ltd. are both being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for potential violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

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January 21, 2013

Nevada GCB Heads to Macau for Gaming Regulator Summit

Fact-finding jaunt to China deemed "a complete success"

Macau CasinoNevada’s three Gaming Control Board members traveled to Macau [last] week in an effort to re-establish the relationship with their regulatory counterparts in the world’s largest gambling market.

Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett characterized the trip as a “fact-finding’ mission and called the series of meetings, including talks with law enforcement officials in Hong Kong, “a complete success.”

He said the relationship between Nevada regulators and Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau – often referred to at the DICJ – had not been very strong in recent years.

“We’ve established a good rapport with the DICJ and will lead to a good era of cooperation and discussions amongst the two agencies,” Burnett said late Thursday. “We were well-received and, as with all things in Asia, these relationships take time to nurture.”

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January 14, 2013

Macau Gaming Revenues Hit Record $38 Billion in 2012

Macau CasinoLet’s put some perspective on the record $38 billion in gaming revenues collected by Macau’s casino industry in 2012.

The figure is higher than the $35.64 billion collected by the entire U.S. commercial casino industry in 2011.

During December, Macau’s 35 casinos collected a single-month record of $3.5 billion in gaming revenues, more than half of what the Strip’s casinos collected in all of 2011.

Macau’s $38 billion gaming revenue take was a 13.5 percent increase from the $33.5 billion the market collected in 2011. However, Macau casinos grew gaming revenues 42 percent between 2010 and 2011.

“By and large, we believe the calendar year 2012 gross gaming revenue growth was ahead of most Wall Street estimates, the majority of which were ratcheted down throughout the year and conservative leaning, in our view,” Stifel Nicolaus Capital Markets gaming analyst Steven Wieczynski said.

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January 2, 2013

Gaming Insider: Macau a Cash Cow for Nevada Casinos

Despite a slowing Chinese economy

Macau CasinoDespite a slowing Asian economy and changes in the Chinese government, Macau casinos continue to churn out record gaming figures, a fact for which investors in three Nevada gaming companies are forever thankful.

Clearly, Macau wasn’t going to match 2011′s 42 percent revenue increase over 2010′s results. But 2012 did provide the highest single-month revenue figure in the gambling market’s history — $3.5 billion in October.

For investors in Wynn Resorts Ltd., Las Vegas Sands Corp. and MGM Resorts International, the monthly gaming revenue figures released by Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau continue to bring welcome results.

Nomura Securities gaming analyst Harry Curtis, who is based in New York, favors Las Vegas Sands over Wynn and MGM Resorts.

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November 19, 2012

From Vegas to Macau to Toronto?

Experts eye Canadian metropolis as ripe for Big Casinos

A study by UNLV’s International Gaming Institute concluded a resort complex featuring a hotel, casino, convention space and other entertainment amenities in the heart of Toronto could stimulate the economy of Canada’s largest city.

Instead of cannibalizing the market, the complex would spur growth for any surrounding businesses.

Meanwhile, the worldwide accounting firm Ernst & Young found that Toronto could collect almost $200 million a year from a casino complex in the form of tax revenues, on top of a one-time sale or lease of city-owned land.

So it wasn’t a surprise last week that Toronto city leaders, following the public release of the two reports, decided to ask residents if they favor a casino.

It’s also no wonder that Caesars Entertainment Corp. Senior Vice President Jan Jones and MGM Resorts Senior Vice President Alan Feldman are bumping into each other more often in Toronto than on the Strip.

Nevada’s biggest casino companies view Toronto as the industry’s next major battleground.

“It’s truly a potential destination we can’t ignore,” Jones said.

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