Issue 226
January 10 - 16, 2005
Volume 5
page 2

Tycoon Stanley Ho to open his 14th casino in Macau

MACAU - Casino mogul Stanley Ho will open the Golden Dragon casino on Wednesday, his 14th in the gaming-friendly Chinese enclave of Macau, a spokesperson for his gaming company said.

The new casino, called "Dragao Dourado" in Portuguese and "Kam Lung" in Chinese, will comprise 70 gaming tables and 123 slot machines, known as "hungry tigers" in the local gaming jargon.

The Golden Dragon is the first new casino to open in Macau in 2005. Company sources say Ho's Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (Macau Gaming Company) plans to open two more casinos this year, one at the Hotel Presidente and the other at the Hotel Fortuna.
After the opening of the Golden Dragon, SJM will run 14 of Macau's 16 casinos. Ho, 83, has dominated Macau's gaming industry since 1962. The other two casinos in the enclave, Galaxy Waldo and the Sands, are owned by the Hong Kong Galaxy group and Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) respectively.

According to informed sources, Macau's gaming industry generated a record 40 billion patacas (around $5 billion) in gross revenue last year, an increase of some 40 per cent on 2003.

Gambling is heavily restricted in China.

The government's income from casino gross-revenue taxes is expected to have reached 15 billion patacas last year. Macau's casinos pay 35 per cent of their gross revenue as tax to the government.

Wynn Resorts from Las Vegas, currently under construction, is expected to start operating its first casino in Macau in the middle of 2006.

Tourism, hospitality and gaming businesses are estimated by economists to have generated about half of Macau's gross domestic product last year.

The government regards the gaming sector as the "dragon-head", or mainstay, of Macau's service and export-oriented economy. The Macau government has granted three casino-operating concessions.

Each concessionaire may grant a legally unlimited number of sub-concessions and open as many casinos as market conditions allow. However, each casino requires a specific government licence.

Macau's first casinos were licensed by its then Portuguese rulers in 1847.




Birmingham council to select NEC's £300million scheme

BIRMINGHAM, England -Controversial plans to build a Las Vegas-style super casino at the Birmingham National Exhibition Centre were set for a major boost after Solihull Council, which has responsibility for issuing planning permission on the NEC site, was expected to back the £300 million casino scheme at a meeting.

Cabinet members in Solihull are set to discuss the plans and, if agreed, will mark the NEC as its preferred location for the casino. That could scupper the rival Birmingham City FC stadium scheme.

The NEC's plan was revealed last month, just weeks after Birmingham City Football Club unveiled rival plans to build a super casino as part of a new 50,000 seater stadium in Saltley, Birmingham. NEC bosses want to build an 800,000 sq ft complex which would also boast a hotel, restaurants, bars and sports facilities, but with the Government capping the number of super casinos in the UK to just eight, Birmingham would only be allowed one.

Strategic director for Solihull Council, Julian Wain, stressed that any planning or licensing permission for the casino would have to be dealt with by the council's relevant committees at a later date.

But he added: "We are arguing that the NEC is a good site for a super casino in economic terms.

"Business tourism is very important and we would hope that the benefits would be felt in Solihull.

"The NEC is a leisure and business destination in its own right and we would argue that a casino at the NEC would create a more complete visitor experience and enhance the attractions that the NEC has.

"We would say that the concerns people have over casinos would be better addressed in a super casino. There would be strict controls."

Paddy Power targets online poker profits

As reported by the Times Online UK

PADDY POWER, Ireland’s biggest bookmaker, will this week launch a suite of online poker games to capitalise on one of the most lucrative areas of internet betting, writes Ciaran Hancock.
The bookmaker is planning a “soft launch” of Paddy Power Poker, which will involve an initial 200 players who have been pre-registered. An icon for the poker games was recently added to the website, although this has not yet been enabled. Analysts estimate that about £100m (€143m) a year is bet on online poker in the UK alone.

The company is targeting Irish and British players but the games will also be open to residents of some other European countries.

Paddy Power will act as a facilitator for players, offering them the opportunity to play live over the internet with players hosted by other sites. This makes it no-risk betting for the bookmaker, which will typically earn about 2% of each pot.

The company will also organise online tournaments, charging a fee for each entry. Players will be required to put a minimum €10 or £10 into their betting accounts but the bookmaker will not extend credit. Novices will be able to play for stakes as low as 5p or 5c and small-stake gamblers are expected to account for a large volume of traffic on the site.

Paddy Power has already enjoyed success with its online casino, which was launched in January 2004. In the first six months of last year, the bookmaker earned an operating profit of €1m from the venture. The company was also recently voted by readers of the Racing Post as the best online betting website among 18 different providers in the UK and Ireland.

Online betting has revolutionised the image of poker. The game has also had its profile raised by high-stake tournaments carried by Channel 4 and Sky in Britain.

Bobby Vinton

Trump Plaza and Hotel: Multi-talented musician, singer and actor Bobby Vinton performs at the Trump Plaza and Hotel in Atlantic City.

Dates: March 19, 2005

Price: $25, $35 & $50

Time: 10:00 pm

For more information please call: 1--609-441-6150
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