IAG 2016-06 Jun - page 7

June2016
inside
asiangaming
7
Cover Story
leaders who in the past were untouchable. But it worked. People
started saying, “Wow, this guy is serious.” Suddenly through those
examples, all the corruption started to change and a lot of that
money that found its way toMacau suddenly dried up because no
onewanted tobe seen tobehere spendingmoney.
Even if it was legitimatelymade in the past through property
development and that kind of thing –maybe favors were granted
because you knew certain officials – if youmade a fortune in the
real estatemarket you didn’t want to show your money because
if someone looked into how it was all made, maybe there were
grey areas.
I believe that the change taking place has really helped Macau
andChina tremendously in the long term. Imean, China’s ruleof law
works, you can think of doing business and attract companies with
confidence, you can sue someone now under the rule of law and all
of that ismakingChinamuch stronger.
Macau itself has also grown up too. There has been a slowdown
but evenwith the slowdown life is good. Think of it like winning the
lottery – you don’t win the lottery every time you buy a ticket. The
operatorswon the lottery for a largenumber of years here.Nowwith
theslowdown themarket hasnormalized.Macauhashad to readjust
to thenewnormand thenumbersarenotwhat theywerebut theyare
still very good. They are still better than LasVegas.
IAG: I think everyone would have taken these numbers if
youhad offered them 10 years ago and said thiswaswhat
youwouldmake in2016.
AZ:
Absolutely. Therearenobusinesses in theworld that for thiskind
because they had already committed to these new mega-resorts.
They thought they had died and gone to heaven and that this would
continue, so they put back a lot of the profits they hadmade. That’s
the problem we face in these next few years with the mega-resorts
opening and the slowdown in visas and tourists coming toMacau.
This is a time that the operators will really have to perform. They
have togoback towork throughservice, eventsanddifferent kindsof
attractions tomakeMacauabetterplace. Therearea largenumberof
roomscomingonstreamso rather thaneveryonefightingeachother,
the strongwill survive as in any business.
IAG:We’ve seenKoreaenjoyawonderful surgeon theback
of creative industries, whichwas government lead, but the
problem in Macau is that our government is perhaps not
as inspirational as the Korean Government. I also know
that there isagreat resistance tochange inMacau.How, as
businessmen inMacau, doweget thegovernment tocreate
amaster vision?
AZ:
The important thing – and I understand exactly what you’re
saying – is getting together with some of the people and working
out a plan. They always say a picture is worth a thousand words so
developing aplanof whatMacauwill look like infive years fromnow
and 10 years fromnow.
It’s like I did with Ocean Park in Hong Kong – it was an old
park that was falling apart and the government askedme to assist.
I took a traditional park and thought world class – how it could be
DrZeman
transformedHongKong’s
LanKwaiFong
district in the1980s
This isa time that theoperatorswill
reallyhave toperform.Theyhave togo
back towork through service, events
anddifferentkindsofattractions
tomakeMacauabetterplace.There
area largenumberof rooms coming
on stream sorather thaneveryone
fightingeachother, the strongwill
surviveas inanybusiness.
of investment make that kind of return. So there is nothing wrong,
you just got spoiledbeforebothwith retail andwithgamingbecause
therewas easymoney in the system.
IAG:Theproblem for theoperators though is that then they
madeall those second roundcommitments?
AZ:
That’s the problem. The crackdown came at the wrong time
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