Inside Asian Gaming

INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | February 2008 42 Briefs Regional Briefs Texas Hold ‘Em Allowed in Macau Macau regulators have authorized local casinos to offer Texas Hold‘em poker for the first time, and Stanley Ho’s SJM has rolled out the game at four new tables at its flagship Grand Lisboa casino. SJM says it has trained staff in the game’s rules so they can help first-time players. “We are confident that Texas Hold ‘em will become very popular here. It is popular in Europe and in the US and there are international Texas Hold ‘em Poker tournaments every year,” Louis Ng, SJM’s director and chief operating officer, said in a statement. Macau’s Grand Waldo Hotel and Casino hosted a stop of the Asian Pacific Poker Tour last November, with special permission granted by the government. A total of 352 players entered the event, which was won by Dihn Le of London, who took home over US$220,000 for the victory. The Macau government also issued regulations for the game, allowing the house to collect a commission of 3-5% percent of the betting pool for each game. India Poker Tour in Autumn Further evidence of poker’s continuing growth around the world camewith the announcement of the India Poker Tour (IPT),scheduled to take place in Autumn 2008 and comprise four tournaments that will attract some of India’s and the world’s best players to do battle for their share of an expected US$1 million prize pool. This will be the first-ever poker tour to be staged in India and seeks to raise the profile of the game in the world’s second most populous nation, and follows the success of Indian players in last year’s Asian Poker Classic. The tour will kick off in Mumbai in September and move to Bangalore. The third event will take place in Delhi before the Grand Final is held in Goa. Bodog Makes China Approach Online casino Bodog is ready to enter the Chinese Market, although it has not been been fully approved to do so, according to a report on News . China is expected to be one of the largest online casino markets in the world, so it’s no wonder that many casinos are keeping a close eye and waiting to see when and if the Chinese Government will regulate the online gaming industry. Bodog is one of many online casinos that have been watching and waiting patiently; however, they have already acted to ensure their brand will be in the top spot once China embraces online gambling. Bodog has launched a brand new Chinese web page in order to help Chinese customers who are interested in gambling.The launch includes landing pages and customer support in both Mandarin and Cantonese. Bodog CEO Calvin Ayre said he believes that Bodog Casino will be the online version of Macau for China. Clearly not suffering from a lack of confidence, Mr Ayre proclaimed: “Stanley Ho, watch out! Bodog wants to be known as the Macau of the online world.With the best games, top customer service and the innovation to bring the most exciting entertainment to our Chinese customers, they don’t need to look to Macau or Las Vegas. “We bring excitement to them. 2008 is a big year for the Chinese and Bodog.We want our Chinese customers to know that Bodog has the same Beijing Olympic spirit to achieve the best,”he concluded. LVS Secures Singapore Resort Funding Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS) has completed the initial funding of approximately US$1.39 billion under its credit facility for the development of the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. The initial borrowing under the credit facility,for which the interest rate is based on the Singapore Dollar Swap Offer Rate for a maturity of thirty days, bears interest at approximately 3.6%. LVS owns and operates The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino, The Palazzo Resort-Hotel-Casino, and the Sands Expo and Convention Center, in Las Vegas, and The Venetian Macao Resort-Hotel and the Sands Macao, in Macau. The company is currently constructing two additional integrated resorts: Sands Bethworks in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and The Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. LVS is also investing US$12-14 billion to build 20,000 hotel rooms on an area of reclaimed land in Macau called the Cotai Strip by 2010 under such brands as Four Seasons, Sheraton and St. Regis. In February, LVS announced its 2007 fourth quarter net profit fell 65% to US$39.9 million, from US$113.6 million a year earlier, as expenses rose due to its construction of multiple resorts. Revenue rose to US$1.05 billion from US$636.3 million in the same period in 2006, benefiting from a full quarter of operation of The Venetian Macao, which opened on August 28. Quarterly revenue at The Venetian and Palazzo in Las Vegas fell 10.9% from a year earlier to US$258.7 million, and dropped 16.7% at the Sands Macao to US$288.2 million. Revenue at the new Venetian Macao came in at US$500.4 million.Traffic at Sands Macao was partly cannibalized as gamblers visited The Venetian Macao. Dihn Le, winner of the recent poker tournament in Macau