What Macau Can Learn from Las Vegas | Vegas Seven

In this week’s Green Felt , I consider how Las Vegas might just have a few lessons for Macau after all:

Once those architects began planning resorts, however, it became apparent that Asia was not Las Vegas, and that what worked so well here for the previous generation—large slot parlors with table-gaming cores—was not at all adaptable to conditions on the ground in China. So American operators—Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International—did the adapting, emphasizing baccarat while adjusting to a market where VIP play dwarfed the mass market.

via What Macau Can Learn from Las Vegas | Vegas Seven

There’s a line between trying to replicate what works in Las Vegas just because it works in Las Vegas and figuring out how to make things that worked in Las Vegas work in other areas. I think we are seeing companies navigating that line.


If you don’t see a video, go…

If you don’t see a video, go here: http://youtu.be/sxWHmPafsGc

Author David G. Schwartz summarizes chapter 16, “All In: Gambling’s Global Spread,” of Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling (Casino Edition).

This chapter includes the background of casino gambling in a number of nations, including China (Macau), Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, North Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Germany, Great Britain, and more.

For more information about the book, visit http://www.rollthebonesbook.com


The History of Our Future | Vegas Seven

I’ve been wanting to write more about Macau, which is such a huge gambling story, for a while, and when given a feature slot for Vegas Seven, jumped on the chance to talk about Macau’s impact on Las Vegas. The result is this week’s cover story:

Back in the early days—2006 or so—American executives signing on for tours of duty in Macau felt like they were stepping into the Wild West. Street violence had subsided since the island’s 1999 reversion to mainland control, but there was still a sense that this was a frontier, a place where anything could happen. And when strangers rode into town—often from the former frontier town of Las Vegas—they went where strangers always go first: the saloon. In this case, that meant the Embassy Bar at what was then the Mandarin Oriental hotel. It was an admittedly upscale saloon, but for an expat executive it was an oasis, a free-port, a place to make crucial first connections and ease into Chinese life. It offered just enough reassuring familiarity, and just enough tantalizing strangeness.

via The History of Our Future | Vegas Seven.

At 4,000 words, this is a long magazine piece for me, but I think you’ll agree it packs a lot of story into those words. The great art really helps. I’m as proud of this as I am of anything I’ve written so far.


The Tower

Among Stanley Ho’s possessions in Macau (in addition to his many casinos) is the Macau Tower Convention and Entertainment Center, which at the time of its construction was the tenth-highest tower in the world.

You can learn more about Stanley Ho’s career in Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling

Go here to read an excerpt from the book, or learn where to buy your copy.


A Place in the Sun

When it opened in 1952, the Sands casino was known as “A Place in the Sun,” and once it signed Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin as entertainers, it became the most popular casino on the Las Vegas Strip.

Today, the Sands name lives on in Las Vegas Sands, Inc., the company that owns the Venetian, Palazzo, and Sands Expo Center on the Strip as well as casinos in Pennsylvania, Macau, and Singapore.

As a result, the Sands name is found in the world’s top three gambling markets—a fitting tribute to the place where Vegas got much of its magic back in the 1950s and 1960s.

You can read more about the Sands and other Las Vegas hotels  in Roll the Bones: The History of Gambling

Go here to read an excerpt from the book, or learn where to buy your copy.


We’re no longer number one! in the LVBP

I’ve got a new piece in the Las Vegas Business Press about how Las Vegas is going to have to adjust to no longer being number one in gaming:

In June, Macau casinos took in about $2.6 billion in revenues, an increase of more than 50 percent from the previous year. This achievement highlights the dominant place that Macau has taken in the gaming world, and is another reminder that Las Vegas isn’t what it used to be … and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

via Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : Slip in gambling rankings not bad thing for Vegas.

It’s been a while since Macau knocked Las Vegas out of that number one spot, but I really think it has just begun to sink in. Hopefully now we can start moving forward, to whatever the future holds.


Gaming Regulations Evolving in Global Gaming Business

I’ve got a pretty lengthy piece of the differing evolution of gaming regulations and transparency in gaming in Nevada, Macau, and Singapore in the latest Global Gaming Business Magazine:

Today, gaming is a truly global industry. Casino gaming, which was once a small-scale business confined to a limited number of jurisdictions, has blossomed into a multibillion-dollar enterprise with numerous competing markets. This not only means that gamblers get their pick of where they want to play; it also means that states, nations and special administrative regions compete with each other by offering regulatory regimes that best suit the growth of casinos.

Nevada, whose current regulatory regime is the longest-lived of the major gaming markets, may have some historical lessons for jurisdictions on the rise, particularly when it comes to the role of transparency in promoting the public—and investor—trust in the gaming industry.

via Gaming Regulations: Evolution and Transparency | Global Gaming Business Magazine.

Can you tell how eager I am for Singapore to start releasing monthly, or at least quarterly, revenue data?

That was a fun piece to write because it made me think about how Nevada, Macau, and Singapore are similar and different. It wouldn’t make sense to impose Nevada’s regulatory system top-down on other jurisdictions, but at 80 years it’s got the longest history of modern regulatory regimes (though Macau has had legal commercial gambling since the 1850s), so there are definitely going to be some lessons there for everyone.


Wynn & China on Two Way Hard Three

In case you missed it, I posted a piece yesterday on Two Way Hard Three talking about Wynn Resorts and China:

In today’s flurry of email headlines (which continue whether I’m in the office or not) I read a blurb saying that Wynn Resorts “has become”; a Chinese company. Certainly this is no surprise to Wynn. I remember him saying that as far back as 2005, though then it was more along the lines of, “One day Wynn Resorts will be a Chinese company.”

Of course, this is getting press now since it’s being coupled with his criticisms of the Obama administration, but looking at the numbers, it’s clear that Wynn Resorts has been a predominantly Chinese company for quite some time.

via Wynn’s a Chinese company, now more than ever | Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog | from ratevegas.com.

Check it out, if only for the neat little charts. I managed to cut out one step in producing those charts, so I’m pretty excited about them.


Sandoval’s message to gaming in the Las Vegas Business Press

My latest column in the Las Vegas Business Press is now available. In it, I consider Governor Sandoval’s recent call for modernization in Nevada’s gaming regulations:

In his State of the State address, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval briefly noted the necessity of updating the state’s gaming regulations to reflect the new realities of 21st century gambling. It’s a good message to share and it highlights the work the industry and its regulators have done to keep moving forward.

Sandoval highlighted the need for “a flexible environment for the technological resources that are the underpinning of modern gaming devices,” suggesting that the recent forays into mobile gambling — courtesy of dedicated devices developed by Cantor Gaming and applications that run on smart phones, one of which recently gained board approval — will continue. With commerce and information-sharing migrating from brick-and-mortar to Internet to mobile, it makes sense that more people are going to want to gamble using these technologies.

via Las Vegas Business Press :: David G. Schwartz : As gambling shifts, state must be ready to adjust.

The importance of modernization was really driven home last Friday, when I went to the opening of Cantor Gaming’s new sportsbook at the Tropicana. Cantor is moving aggressively into mobile sports gaming. In addition to their dedicated devices, which you can already get at the M, Venetian/Palazzo, Hard Rock, Tropicana, and Cosmopolitan, Cantor is developing apps that run on smart phones and tablets.


Analysts bullish on Macau

We know that Macau had a blockbuster 2010, more than doubling the revenue of Nevada’s 329 non-restricted gaming locations with its 33 casinos. According to two CLSA analysts, 2011 will be an even better year for the SAR. From Bloomberg:

Casino revenue in Macau, the world’s biggest gambling hub, may climb 30 percent to $30 billion this year as visitors from mainland China increase, CLSA Ltd. said.Billionaire Stanley Ho’s SJM Holdings Ltd. was also upgraded to “buy” from “outperform” with a new share-price estimate of HK$18.40 at CLSA, according to a note to clients from Hong Kong-based analysts Aaron Fischer and Huei Suen Ng. The brokerage earlier predicted Macau casino gambling growth of 20 percent for 2011.

via Macau Casino Revenue Forecast Raised to 30% by CLSA, Spurring Stock Rally – Bloomberg.

That’s a bullish outlook, but one that’s justified by Macau’s growth to date and the potential for this year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Macau triple Nevada’s gaming revenues with one-tenth its casinos.

Its been fascinating watch Macau equal, then overtake, Las Vegas as the world’s casino gambling capital. I think this is probably the biggest development in the gaming world in the 2000s.

That gives me an idea: if I have the time, I might put together an article about the ten biggest developments/news stories of the decade 2000-10. Here’s a tentative list, just off the top of my head:

1. Macau
2. Wynn sells Mirage
3. Consolidation on the Strip
4. Wynn Resorts is born, grows
5. The 2004-7 bubble
6. Atlantic City implodes
7. California Indian casinos grow
8. Mid-Atlantic casino proliferation
9. The recession
10. Online gaming’s halting progress