House of Cards®


Trapped in Macau from Gambling and the Law by I Nelson Rose

On Saturday, Macau awarded “provisional licenses” to the six current casino operators.  These will allow them to continue to operate until they are awarded their official concessions in January.

No surprise there.  In fact, the biggest surprise is that another company, Genting, even bothered to compete.

Genting had hoped to add what was once the world’s richest casino market, prior to Covid, to its massive Resorts World operations in New York, Singapore, Malaysia and Las Vegas.

It may be unfair for me to also include Caesars as one of the losers, since the company formerly known as Harrahs knew it would be a waste of time to try to replace one of the entrenched concession holders.  But it has been desperate to undo the dreadful mistake it made in 2001.  When Macau open its casino licensing opportunities to the world, the company did not even submit a bid.  It apparently thought that the sleepy little former Portuguese colony, with a rumored presence of organized crime, was not worth the effort.

I visited one of the dark, dangerous looking casinos in Macau in 1996, so I understood Harrahs’ executives’ emotional reactions.  But in the gaming industry, money beats feelings every time.  I did not see how having the only legal casinos in China, the most populous nation in the world, could be anything but a sure thing.


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