Macau

 

Aspect Gaming has announced the completion of the acquisition of Longshot Interactive, thus adding a portfolio of proprietary baccarat variants to its library of slot games focused on Asian players. Aspect hopes to tap into a growing electronic table game market with a product that provides players with "a perceived edge and higher volatility, while increasing hold for the house." The company believes these baccarat variants will be "the basis for the 'video poker of Asia.'" 

The Macau government is expected to collect upwards of USD $13.35 billion in direct taxes from gambling in 2012. The government will also net USD $1.53 billion in indirect taxes, thus increasing total tax revenues to US$14.88 billion, macauhub reports. Last year, operators posted gross revenues of USD $38.017 billion, which was an increase of 13.5 percent over revenues in 2011. In total, all gaming and gambling operations, including greyhound and horse racing, Chinese lottery, scratch cards, and sports betting provided gross revenues of US$38.154 billion for 2012.

Nevada's three Gaming Control Board members traveled to Macau last week in an effort to re-kindle the relationship with their regulatory counterparts, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett characterized the trip as a "fact-finding" mission. DICJ director, Manuel Neves admitted to the local broadcaster TDM that the two bodies have not always seen eye to eye, but expects things to improve.

Citic Telecom International Holdings Ltd. (1883:HK) has decided to buy 79% of Macau phone operator CTM for USD $1.16 billion. Citic sees the real profits in Internet and wireless services, as Macau residents and visitors are pushing for quick mobile gambling access. Mobile phone penetration is three times higher than the area’s population of 568,000 inhabitants, so there is huge demand for mobile services.

The Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau said that gross revenue from football betting increased by 15.5 percent year-on-year to MOP418 million (US$52.3 million), while basketball betting gross revenue reached MOP111 million in 2012, an increase of over 29 percent.  Meanwhile, gross revenue from horse racing betting dropped to MOP356 million, down 19.1 percent from 2011, and greyhound racing gross revenue dropped even further – by 31 percent, to MOP205 million.  Macau Slot – Sociedade de Lotarias e Apostas Mútuas de Macau Lda - runs non-racing sports betti

Shares in MGM China (2282:HK) jumped almost 6% last week after the announcement that the Macau government granted it approval for a new mega casino on the Cotai strip.  The project has a budget of around $2.5 billion, and the 17.8 acre site will include 1,600 hotel rooms, 500 gaming tables and 2,500 slots. MGM Resorts International chief executive Jim Murren expects profits of the subsidiary to more than double once the new property is online.

The table cap for operating properties - currently set at 5,500 for the 2011-12 biennium - shall be increased in 2013, the Macau Secretary for Economy and Finance said. Francis Tam Pak Yuen added that operators’ non-gaming facilities would be taken into account when deciding the number of tables to be allotted to new properties approved for Cotai. Wynn Macau (1928:HK), MGM China (2282:HK), SJM (880:HK) - and potentially Melco-Crown (Nasdaq: MPEL) under StudioCity - have projects in the pipeline.

 

 

Hong Kong-listed Sands China Ltd declared on Friday an interim dividend of HK$0.67 (USD$ 8.6) per share, payable on or about February 28. In January last year, the Macau-based gaming operator announced an interim dividend of HK$0.58 ($7.5) per share, its first ever. Three months later, Sands China’s board of directors recommended the payment of a final dividend of HK$0.58 per share for 2011.

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