IAG 2006-01 Jan - page 18-19

tanleyHo’sSociedadedeTurismoeDiversõesdeMacau (STDM) isMacau’s
biggest business group and employer.STDM subsidiary Sociedade de Jogos
deMacau (SJM) is thecity’sdominantcasinooperator - running14of thecity’s
17 casinos - and according to investment bank CLSA, SJMwill retain a 50%
shareof gambling revenueby2008.STDMownsmajor stakes in the city’s top
hotels (theMandarinOriental andWestin), several other hotels,flag carrierAir
Macau,aswell as theairport, jetfoil andhelicopter servicesbywhichover40%
of visitorsarrive inMacau.
Passengerson theTurboJET jetfoil fromHongKong toMacauarebombarded
withadvertisements for theTigerSlot loungeatSTDM’sMacauTower,offering
HK$50 (US$6.4) “Slots Freeplay” in exchange for their used ticket stubs.
FreeplayofHK$50andHK$100 isoffered for receipts fromotherSTDM-owned
Through its extensive transport, retail, dining and hospitality network, STDM
has a wealth of potential promotional weapons in its marketing arsenal. It’s
almost enough to make you feel sorry for it’s competitors. STDM director
and Stanley Ho’s right-hand man, Ambrose So, responds: “In the world of
competition you canhave sympathy for your competitors, but youdon’t feel
sorry for them.”Sostresses theadvantagesofSTDM’sextensivenetwork,while
otheroperatorsare restricted,at themoment at least, to justonepremises.
STDM is also Macau’s largest landowner. In the previous issue of Inside
Asian Gaming, Jorge Oliveira, the Commissioner for Legal Affairs of Macau’s
Commission for Gaming, explained that STDM’s huge land bank is what
has allowedMelco, the Hong Kong-listed company run by Stanley Ho’s son,
Lawrence, to invest soheavily ingamingmachines.“If theyhave anunlimited
gaming floor, it makes sense that they try to drive out the competition by
reserving a part of that formachines.”Thus,“the only entity that is investing
heavily inmachines isMelco.”
STDM’s other advantage is that it is only subject to local regulations, while
the Vegas-based concessionaries, Las Vegas Sands andWynn Resorts, must
also adhere to the tough restrictions of Nevada regulators. So points out
that Macau’s regulations are being made more stringent, and says, “I guess
STDM’s AmbroseSo explainswhy StanleyHo andCo aren’t exactly sweating the arrival of competition.
TheCrystal Palace, Hotel Lisboa
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