Inside Asian Gaming

INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | April 2008 42 Briefs Regional Briefs Macau Scores Highest GDP Per Capita in Asia Macau’s breakneck economic growth has resulted in its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita becoming the highest in Asia. Macau has a population of only around 538,000, and its GDP per capita jumped 27% year-on-year to US$36,357 in 2007, putting the city ahead of such prosperous Asian economies as Hong Kong, Singapore, Brunei and Japan. Macau’s GDP per capita is now ahead of Italy’s, and just behind those of Germany and France. GDP growth in Macau last year was propelled by a 47% increase in casino revenue to US$10.34 billion in 2007. Investment bank Morgan Stanley predicts the city’s casino revenue will grow a further 23% this year and around 20% in each of the following two years. Although Macau now has the highest GDP per capita in Asia, the average resident only saw their median monthly wage rise by 7.5% last year to approximately US$1,020, while inflation rose 9.5%—the highest rate in twelve years. In addition, rents last year rose 15.6% while the rate for basic medical consultations went up by 24.2%. Ritz-Carlton’s Macau Labour Concerns Simon Cooper, group president of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, said he expected recruiting and retaining talented staff would be one of his company’s biggest concerns in Macau,according to a report in the China Daily newspaper. Ritz-Carlton is scheduled to open a hotel at the Macao Studio City resort next year, adjacent to the sprawling Venetian Macao. Mr Cooper also said Macau lacked the international airline connectivity to enable the city to develop into a regional entertainment hub in the Las Vegas mould. Macau’s stock of hotel rooms has been booming over the past few years,and is nearing the 18,000 mark,and is set to balloon further to 50,000 over the next few years. InadditiontotheRitz-Carlton,theMacaoStudioCitydevelopment will also feature a Marriott Hotel,W Hotel and the first boutique Tang Hotel in the world, developed by Shanghai Tang founder David Tang. Phase one of Studio City is slated to open in the first half of 2009. Elixir’s New Dream Team Elixir Gaming Technologies, Inc. (EGT) announced the hiring of a number of experienced management and gaming industry executives in order to boost the company’s efforts to place and operate electronic gaming machines on a revenue share model throughout Asia. Rolando Sangalay,Vice President Projects, joins EGT from IGT Asia Pacific where he most recently served as a Senior Project Manager, responsible for system and machine installations, including at the recent opening of the MGM Grand Macau. His primary responsibility at EGT will be to serve as a liaison between the company and venue operators to ensure new venues come into operation efficiently. Andy Crestafi, the new Regional Gaming Director, was most recently at Sands Macau, where he was responsible for gaming machine selection and floor optimization. Prior to that Mr. Crestafi was at Star City Casino in Sydney, Australia, for ten years, where he was the slot floor manager. LokeBengHwa,Cambodia Country Manager, brings vital field management experience to the EGT’s gaming venue technical support team. Mr. Beng Hwa has held casino management positions in Cambodia,Vietnam and the Philippines. FrankMagpantay,ChiefTechnician,waswith IGT for ten years prior to joining EGT. Mr. Magpantay brings a wealth of technical expertise and years of experience in managing regional technical teams. Meanwhile, Tony Lam, Vice President General Administration & Human Resources, has an extensive track record of success in similar positions as a senior executive in companies in both Asia and the US. Lax Enforcement of Anti-Laundering Laws A report in the Macau Daily Times quoted a researcher at the Macao Polytechnic Institute, Wang Wuyi, as claiming anti-money laundering legislation introduced at the end of 2006 is not being enforced due to the complicated structure of VIP gaming in Macau. Thelawrequirescasinostoreporttransactionsoforabove500,000 patacas (US$62,500) to the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ). According to Dr Wang, this does not happen because venues in Macau often do not know who the end customers are. High stakes baccarat played in private VIP rooms contributes about 70% of Macau’s casino revenue.“Here in Macau it doesn’t make sense for the government to require casinos to file CTRs (currency transaction reports) because the casino doesn’t know the customer,” said Dr Wang.“Currently CTRs are filled out under the name of the VIP room operator or the junket representative.” VIP customers are brought to the rooms by junket agents, who pay for the customers to travel to and stay in Macau. The agents also provide the customers with credit to gamble. In exchange, the agents receive a commission, usually based on “rolling turnover”— which corresponds to the amount wagered by the customers. The VIP rooms,meanwhile, are generally not operated by the casinos, but by third parties. Dr Wang explained to the Macau Daily Times that the new anti-