Macau: Gambling Capital Of The World

Companies Asia Macau Gambling Capital of the world

Macau Tower With Fireworks At Night

With increasing foreign investments and liberalization of its gaming industry, Macau is currently experiencing unprecedented economic growth.  $7 billion revenue in Macau’s gaming industry surpassed Las Vegas’ $6.1 billion near the end of 2006 to make it the world’s biggest gambling hub.  Analysts estimate that revenue is expected to climb 30% to $30 billion this year and at least another 25% to $38 billion for the year 2012.

Macau now has 33 casinos and more are being developed and built.  Until 2002, Macau gambling was a monopoly; casinos were controlled and operated by tycoon Dr. Stanley Ho’s flagship company Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau (STDM).  Casino operators now include foreign casino giants such as Wynn Resorts, Sands and MGM Grand.  Sands opened on the Macau waterfront in 2004 and earned back its $260 million investment in less than a year.  Continuing its success, Sands opened in the summer of 2007 the 3000-room, 350 shop, $2.4 billion Venetian Macau, a hotel, casino and shopping complex, the largest of all the casinos in Macau and the first of many family and convention-friendly developments to come.

According to Macau Government statistics and CLSA research report:

Stanley Ho’s SJM Holdings (subsidiary of STDM) is Macau’s largest casino operator, with a 32% share of Macau’s gaming market.

Sands China, the Macau arm of Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Corp., is the owner of the Venetian Macao, the world’s largest casino by floor area.  It has a 16.5% market share.

Wynn Macau, owned by Las Vegas based Nasdaq listed Wynn Resorts (Nasdaq:WYNN), has a 15% market share.

Galaxy Entertainment Group (HKSE:00027) has a market share of about 12.6%. Launched in 2004, Galaxy owns 4 casinos, the StarWorld Resort, and the Galaxy Macau Resort (to be opened early 2011).

Nasdaq listed Melco Crown Entertainment (Nasdaq: MPEL), run by Stanley Ho’s son Lawrence Ho, has about a 11.7% share. It owns the City Of Dreams, Altira Macau Resorts and several smaller Mocha Club casinos.

MGM china, a 50-50 joint venture between MGM Resorts International and Stanley Ho’s daughter Pansy Ho, has a 11.6% share.

During the year 2010, close to 25 million people visited Macau, an increase of about 15% from the year before; however, less than 12% of the visitors were from outside of China, Hong Kong or Taiwan. There were 13.3 million visitors from mainland China last year, accounting for 53% of all the visitors to Macau for 2010. The number of international visitors; however, has increased only slightly for 2010 over the previous year.  “We hope we can gradually raise this, for over the long-term Macau ought to develop the international market,” Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, deputy director of Macau’s Tourist Office, said during a news conference.  “Strategy-wise it’s very important for us to go for diversity.  Diversity in terms of product, and diversity in terms of the markets we are pursuing.  So international markets will be very important in the future.”

Currently, the Macau gambling industry generates over 40% of the GDP of Macau.  Taxes on gambling profits generated over 70% of Government revenues annually.

The recent controversy surrounding Stanley Ho’s decision to transfer shares in Lanceford Co., the company that controls SJM Holdings Ltd., to the families of his second and third wives, together with the absence of a clearly defined succession plan for his empire, had caused the shares of SJM to plunge and no doubt resulted in sleepless nights for investors and shareholders….

But then again, Macau, like Vegas, is a city that never sleeps.

Copyright © 2011      All Rights Reserved.

Related Stories: