Macau Gambling Revenues Hit Another Record

Posted on June 1st, 2011

Macau has set a new revenue record for the 4th consecutive month. The former Portuguese colony, now a Special Administrative Region in China, recorded a new record high revenue mark in May. Gambling turnover reached 24.31b Macanese Patacas (US$3.03b), up from MOP 20b in April, and up more than 40% over the May 2010. There was a week-long holiday at the beginning of May, and a new gambling palace: the Galaxy Macau opened its doors midway through the month. The numbers will Cheer Pansy Ho, who just took her company MGM china to the stock market this week for an estimated float value of $1.5b.

MGM Grand Pansy HOHo means “Good” in Cantonese, the local lingo. So I guess you could say that these numbers were “Ho Ho Ho” (and it´s not even Christmas).

One slightly concerning trend, for analysts, is the city´s over reliance on pure gambling. As of yet, the city has not managed to diversify into entertainment, like Vegas. They seem to be following the Atlantic City model, which, in the US downturn, has created problems. The new Galaxy is trying to attract visitors who are also interested in shows- but as yet the numbers are pretty small. Plus Macao will face increasing competition from other Asian casino centres, notably Singapore, Vietnam & Taiwan (the former with Marina Bay Sands and the latter 2 countries with big plans to move into this area).
Personally speaking, we wouldn´t bet against these numbers being blown away next year, particularly when the country is experiencing double digit GDP growth every year.

Richest Woman in Town
And what about the Belle of the town, Pansy Ho (certainly for this week?). Pansy Ho Chiu-king is set to become the richest woman in Hong Kong thanks to MGM China Holding’s Hong Kong stock market listing.

Ho’s sale of a percentage of her stake in the Macau casino operator via a public offering will deliver her a US$1.2b to US$1.5b cash pay check, boosting her net worth to a cool US$5 billion, (according to the South China Morning Post, the local rag).

At 48, Pansy is the divorced daughter of Macau gaming tycoon Stanley Ho.

This catapults her into the top 10 of the Forbes list of Hong Kong’s 40 richest people  – her father came in at 13th. It would also put her among the 10 most moneyed individuals in China, and in Canada, where she is a citizen.

Pansy, used to be called  “Party Girl Pansy” by local newspapers thabks to her flings Cantopop stars and the wealthy IT crowd. A petite lady with black, cropped hair, the 48 year old will play a key role in developing and implementing MGM China’s strategy, despite halving her share holdings.

After taking over as Taipan at Shun Tak Holdings , a property and transport business, in her 30s, Pansy was always seen by her father as the one with the business nous and took over her Dad´s gambling empire, leaving her siblings in the shade.

She loves her art and is a member of CPPCC, an advisory body to China’s parliament. Pansy Ho is one of 17 children fathered by Ho- so you can´t accuse her of lack of competition for the top job.

MGM has agreed that Pansy will stay on as a director at Sociedade de Turismoe Diversoes de Macau SA (STDM), the holding firm which owns STDM – Investments Ltd, and retain she will keep a stake of 3.8%. MGM China controls around 11% share of Macau´s gaming market – the largest in the world.

And there is competition in the family too- top dog in Macau is SJM, which is controlled by Stanley Ho’s fourth wife Angela Leong. Then there´s Melco Crown Entertainment , run by Pansy’s brother, Lawrence Ho, and Galaxy Entertainment .

I bet the family dinner at Chinese New Year is a good one to be a fly on the wall at……ayeeeah!

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