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International Entertainment Corp is in talks to pay up to 7.35 billion Hong Kong dollars ($947.9 million) for a 70 percent stake in a company linked to Suncity Group, which operates 17 junkets in Macau. International Entertainment is controlled by the family of billionaire Cheng Yu-tung. International Entertainment said the acquisition will enable it to “broaden its range of investments,” and it may need to raise funds by placement of shares or convertible securities to finance the deal.

Melco Crown expects industry mass segment growth of at least 25 percent in 2014, and VIP growth of at least 5-10 percent, UBS said in a note. That’s in line with UBS forecasts of 25 percent for the mass market and 9 percent for VIPs. 

Louis XIII Holdings Ltd says it has arranged a six-year HK$3.05 billion ($393 million) loan to finance construction of its casino-hotel on Coloane. Louis XIII expects its Coloane casino-hotel to open in 2016.

Sociedade de Jogos de Macau SA’s decision to raise wages by 5 percent will set a benchmark for other industries, MSS Recruitment Ltd managing director Jiji Tu was cited as saying by local media. Overall, wages could increase by between 5 percent and 10 percent this year, pushed up by a shortage of workers. Rising wage costs are seen as one cloud in Macau’s otherwise sunny outlook.

Shun Tak Holdings unit, Artyzen Hospitality Group Ltd, will take over the management of the Grand Lapa Hotel on February 1. Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group currently manages the property.

SJM Holdings Director Angela Leong says Casino Crystal Palace has already installed a smoking room in its main area. “We will have to continue with the test over a longer period of time to see if it will help improve results of air quality tests in the main area,” she told local media. She also said that there will be a wide range of facilities in the future Jai Alai casino, including a shopping mall, art-related exhibits and spaces to promote food culture.

Macau Legend Development said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange that it wants to diversify its business and indirectly participate in the gaming promotion business. It intends to “enter into arrangements whereby the company and its subsidiaries will be permitted to indirectly participate in the gaming promotion business through a licensed gaming promoter,” it said. The board of directors said the company is in consultation with relevant authorities in Macau and Hong Kong in relation to the feasibility of the plan. It gave no further details.

Wynn Macau has appointed Gamal Aziz as president, replacing Steve Wynn who will continue as CEO and chairman of the board. Mr. Aziz will report to Mr. Wynn. Mr. Aziz returned to work at Wynn in January last year, after serving as president and CEO of MGM Hospitality, where he was responsible for developing and operating luxury hotels under the Bellagio, MGM Grand and Skylofts brands. Prior to MGM Hospitality, he served as president and COO of the MGM Grand.

Genting Hong Kong is planning a boutique hotel in Macau on a plot of reclaimed land opposite the old Casino Lisboa. The plans submitted to the government don’t include gaming, Yany Kwan, chairman of Genting unit Treasure Island Entertainment Complex reportedly told reporters. The project, titled Resorts World Macau, involves a low-rise boutique hotel with hundreds of rooms.

Research houses are going into the New Year bullish on Macau and casino stocks after a record breaking year in 2013. Macau posted an 18.6 percent gain in gross gaming revenue last year to $45.2 billion. On the back of the strong 2013 performance, U.S. bank Morgan Stanley has upped its forecasts for GGR this year to 18 percent from 13 percent. It expects casinos in the enclave to take in $53 billion, with mass-market revenue likely to gain 28 percent and VIPs lagging at 13 percent.