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Macau Kingpin Urges People to United Against Foreign Casino Capital

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Mar/23/2009
Stanley Ho

Macau billionaire and casino mogul, Stanley Ho, has urged people to "unite against foreign capital." It's unclear what motivated the comments, according to the Las Vegas Sun.  But they came at a convenient time, the paper points out.  With a global economic downturn, one of Ho's biggest competitors, the Las Vegas Sands Corp, is having a tough go of it.

Liz Bentson of the Sun:

"Macau was the place where Las Vegas Sands was going to step out from the shadows of its rivals.

"Its bold strategy - to grab the biggest share of the Chinese enclave's gaming market with an Asian version of the Las Vegas Strip - swamped the company with debt that has taken it to the brink of bankruptcy.

"Now, image problems are cropping up in Macau, where the company's chief executive, Sheldon Adelson, had been hailed as a visionary."

Among the image problems: Adelson's aggressive growth plan and the arrival of new competitors turned out to be too much too soon, resulting in thousands of layoffs.

Sands is also fighting two Macau-related lawsuits and not having much luck.

Chinese businessman Richard Suen won a $58.6 million judgment against the company, claiming he was to be paid by The Sands for setting up a meeting with the Chinese Central Government.

Bentson writes: "Casino operators and others doing business in Macau say that not paying Suen, regardless of the lawsuit's merits, has damaged the company's reputation in Asia, where handshake agreements are common and verbal promises are honored in spite of changed circumstances."

Then, in February, a Macau court ruled that a company-owned ferry service used to bring customers to its Cotai Strip resorts received an operating license unlawfully because it wasn't subject to public bidding.

Adelson is worried that an attempt by his Chinese rival to provoke anti-American sentiment could hurt his company's operations in Macau. Sands is depending on Macau to provide relief as U.S. consumers drastically cut spending at the company's Las Vegas properties, the report added.

"You never know the effect his words could have,"  Adelson said in a phone interview to the WSJ this past week. "If Mr. Ho is trying to stir up nationalist feelings to help steer business from his rivals, it is unclear how much support, if any, he has in higher political circles."

Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com  

 

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