Thursday, 4 December 2014

Who's Blaming Who?

Mainland Chinese flock to Macau for rest, relaxation and gambling! What else?
China has disciplined Macau, saying it needs to lessen its reliance on gambling revenue "in the interests of the whole nation".

Li Fei, in charge of Hong Kong and Macau affairs gave the warning yesterday to Macau Chief Executive Fernando Chui Sai-on before Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives to mark the 15th anniversary of the former Portuguese enclave's return to the mainland.

This past year has been a tough one for Macau, as Xi's anti-corruption campaign put a chill on many big rollers who usually go there to bet big... winning is another thing.

Li, who is also deputy secretary general of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, stressed that the "overwhelming dominance" of the gaming industry not only worked against the interests of Macau, but also the whole nation. Previous warnings were only focused on Macau.

The House of Dancing Water is a popular show...
"The overwhelming dominance of gambling in Macau is not in line with the overall interest of Macau and the fact that Macau's economy, especially gaming, is closely connected with the mainland determines that when one judges the overall interest of Macau, one cannot focus only on Macau's economic growth and tax revenue.

"One must take into account the socioeconomic safety, stability and developmental interest of the mainland and the whole nation," he said.

He added the mainland had give the city opportunities for development outside of gaming and it needed to explore these areas.

"The nation and the mainland provide Macau with many opportunities," Li said. "If the SAR can grab and fully utilize these conditions with good planning, scientific policy making and effective implementation, it is possible to explore a fresh development path of cooperation with the mainland in the nation's overall development framework."

So from that vague wording, what does Li mean? What opportunities has China given Macau in developing non-gaming areas? Could he please spell them out for us? Or do we have to play charades to get some clues?

The fact is, many of the casinos are building their new phases for the next two to three years and they are supposed to be more focused on more shopping and dining, and of course hotel rooms.

Melco Crown Entertainment has had one big hit, The House of Dancing Water, which is impressive and bizarre at the same time, but has struggled to capture the adult market with Taboo, that seems to undergo constant revamps without success.

... while Taboo leaves audiences squirming in their seats!
The show, which starts around 10pm, features scantily-clad dancers performing sexy routines, a singer and some acrobatic acts. For the most part the sexually-shy audience squirms when the dancers try to flirt with or tease them, and so most attendees only go once.

There are play areas for kids, but what other entertainment can these casinos come up with?

Actually the problem isn't entirely the fault of casinos not coming up with non-gaming options -- it's the mainland visitors who want to gamble.

They are the ones, up until recently, flooding the casinos and putting down bets, throwing coins into slot machines and trying their luck.

These visitors are shopping too, but it's really the gambling that they are in Macau for. They aren't really interested in the historical spots of the area, nor the food. They just want their dumplings and noodles and then continue playing baccarat or big/small.

Is it the fault of casinos for wanting to cater to their guests' needs and wants?

So perhaps Li is misplacing his blame somewhat and really it's Chinese residents he needs to berate for wanting to blow all their money against the odds?

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget Macaus' other recent industries like prostitution, faux drugs and faux products, human trafficking, money laundering, arms trafficking, etc.... These industries thrive in China, too.