MGM Macau has been waiting three years for approval to build a project on Cotai 

MGM Macau wants approval to build on Cotai


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MGM Macau says it has been waiting three years for government approval to acquire land on the peninsula’s Cotai Strip to build a large-scale resort.

Grant Bowie, president of the company, told the magazine Macau Business that the company submitted a proposal to the government requesting a land concession back in 2007.

It has been announced officially that three different gaming projects on Cotai are waiting for formal land grant approvals. These were not mentioned by name. But Bowie said, “We have made it clear we want to have an opportunity in Cotai” and a “high-end integrated resort” is what MGM has in mind. In addition to gambling this would likely include convention and meeting facilities along with entertainment and retail and possibly medical tourism.

Bowie didn’t comment on MGM Macau’s plans to go public on the Hong Kong stock exchange later this year. He did, however, emphasize that the company is “financially safe and secure”.

Wynn Macau, meanwhile, plans to pay 400 million Macau patacas (US$50 million) to an unrelated third party for a land concession on Cotai.

Subsidiaries of Wynn Resorts will make the one-time payment in return for the seller’s relinquishment of certain rights in and to any future development on the 52-acre site, the company said in its latest quarterly report.

Wynn Macau has applied to the government for a land concession close to City of Dreams and has already put fences around it. The company “is awaiting final government approval on the concession,” the filing said.



SINGAPORE IS ON FIRE AND GETTING HOTTER


Analysts believe revenues generated by Singapore’s new casino industry could rival the Las Vegas Strip’s over the next two years as more and more Asian gamblers opt to play and stay closer to home.

According to a recent report in The Wall Street Journal, forecasters are looking to upgrade their projections for the market following better-than-expected second-quarter results at Genting’s Resorts World Sentosa, the first of the two gambling megaresorts that opened in the city-state earlier this year.

This is being aided by a general rebound in the global economy, particularly in Asia, which has contributed to higher year-on-year visitor arrivals to Singapore this year. Reflecting a 5 to 7 percent increase in visitor arrivals region-wide in 2010, average room rates in Singapore hotels in June jumped about 20 percent past last summer’s to approximately US$219 per night.

The growth is similar to the recovery seen throughout the Asia-Pacific region. It does not appear to be dampening demand either. The Journal reported that average occupancy rates in hotels ranged from 80 to 88 percent in the first half, compared to 66 to 76 percent during the same period in 2009.

Analysts say Singapore is well-positioned to ride the wave with Marina Bay Sands and Resorts World Sentosa and a number of other new attractions. The Singapore Tourism Board is expecting a record 12 million visitors or more this year, and in line with this the government will continue to facilitate growth in hotel room supply and expand the range of accommodation options available to travelers, the Journal said. At the start of this year, Singapore’s inventory stood at more than 41,000 rooms. With the opening of the casinos and other hotels, about 6,000 rooms will be added this year.



MACAU GAMING REVENUE UP 70 PERCENT IN JULY


Casino revenue in Macau soared 70 percent in July from a year earlier to US$2 billion, a record bested only by May’s $2.14 billion.

The total was 20 percent higher than results in June, the month of the World Cup.

For the first seven months of the year, Macau casino gambling revenue rose 67.5 percent.

SJM leads the market with a 32 percent of share of revenues, followed by Sands China at 20 percent and Melco Crown and Wynn Macau at 15 percent each, according to analysts. Galaxy Entertainment’s share was 12 percent. MGM Grand Paradise had 7 percent.

The former Portuguese colony, the only place in China where casinos are legal, is the largest pure gambling market in the world. Revenues last year hit a record of more than $14 billion.



LADBROKES VYING WITH TATTS, TABCORP FOR VICTORIA LICENSE



Ladbrokes is one of three companies short-listed to take over the Australian state of Victoria’s multibillion-dollar wagering license.

The UK-based betting giant will compete for the license with Tatts Group and current holder Tabcorp, which has had a monopoly on off-course race betting in Victoria for 50 years.

The three were chosen from a field of local and international operators to compete for the 12-year license, which commences in 2012. The state government will award the license later this year.

The license entitles the holder to offer both pari-mutuel and fixed-odds betting on racing, sports and other events, including the only authority to conduct wagering and betting via an off-course retail network, plus the right to establish and operate the only betting exchange based in Victoria and the right to offer approved simulated racing games.

Gaming Minister Tony Robinson said Victoria’s wagering and sports betting industry was worth more than US$4 billion a year.

“The level of interest shown is a testament to the strength and prestige of Victoria’s racing industry,” he said.



MELCO CROWN OPTS FOR TWO BOSSES IN MANAGEMENT SHUFFLE


The company has gone to two chief operating officers: Ted Chan, promoted from his position as president of the company’s Altira casino, and Nick Naples, a former executive with Sands China. Chan will oversee all the gaming activities of Melco Crown and Naples all non-gaming activities.

Chief Financial Officer Simon Dewhurst also resigned as part of the restructuring, and the company is looking for a replacement. Geoffrey Davis, senior vice president of corporate finance, has been promoted to deputy CFO and treasurer in the interim.



‘CHALLENGING' TIMES AT SKY CITY GROUP

Sky City Entertainment Group, New Zealand’s largest casino operator, reported a drop in net income for the year from NZ$115.3 million to $102 million.

The decline was largely the result of a one-time tax adjustment for building depreciation, the company said. Excluding the adjustment, profit improved 23 percent, which included a gain on the sale of the company’s movie business.

Underlying profit, which adjusts income from international business and for one-time items, rose 12 percent to NZ$129.1 million, in line with company forecasts.

Sky City, however, is slowing investment and increasing promotion of its Australia and New Zealand casinos to maintain sales and restore margins. Revenue was down at its largest casino in Auckland, and the economic environment remains “challenging,” the company said.