MB Nov | Goodwill Hunting

When those amazing and almost impossible gaming results nosedived to a more realistic level, with VIP plummeting 50 per cent, gaming operators – and even the government – cut costs. As if they were all losing money and not still making billions, as they used to. Fewer billions, true – but still the healthiest results on the planet!

Gaming results have been cresting for more than a year, sometimes reaching those impossible monthly numbers that most of us believed could never be sustained.

Having estimated in April that Macau would see its real gross domestic product (GDP) grow by 2.8 per cent and 1.7 per cent for this year and next, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) now considers that the MSAR will register 13.4 per cent growth this year and 7 per cent increase in 2018! Excuse me?!

And the numbers continue . . . The MSAR pulled in some MOP11.81 billion (US$1.46 billion) in inward direct investment flows last year, increasing, almost, by a whopping 32 per cent year-on-year.

And continuing . . . As at September, gross gaming revenue was up 18.8 per cent year-on-year to MOP162.79 billion, with VIP demonstrating great resilience and raking in MOP36.69 billion during the third quarter, a 35 per cent increase year-on-year, while the baccarat segment alone pocketed MOP20.88 billion, an increase of 7.25 per cent year-on-year. Overall, games of fortune in the third quarter posted a 21.8 per cent increase in revenues.

Last month, October, Gross Gaming Revenues grew 22.1 per cent to a staggering MOP26.6 billion (US$3.3 billion). Beating all expectations.

Right, so what do we continue to see? The expenditure in town from gaming operators and the government continue as if the results were still lower. It seems everyone prefers to spend the cash outside of Macau, from the most politically correct (to some short-sighted people) expenditure on the Mainland in an exercise of buying goodwill, to other spending and profit distribution.

Yes, some of the cash is put into the development of existing and new properties, which is understandable and defensible. But not this stingy over-saving when it comes to giving back to society.

I could almost swear this is not what Secretary Lionel Leong wants. At least, I hope it isn’t. As such, it’s more than time to tell the major business partners in Macau (not only gaming but also property, banking, insurance, etc.) that the priority has never changed: it’s Macau. Think Macau first, or else . . . That should be the unflinching message. Take it or leave it.

Putting the international into Macau

Our media group is reinventing itself.

It’s the good side of being too independent; we’re forced to come up with a multitude of projects, ideas, concepts. To compensate for the fact that we’re not receiving payouts from certain government departments; with some payouts more transparent than others, in a town where direct adjudication is still common coin. But frankly, who cares about public tenders if the result is already foreordained and no-one explains the decision making?

Go check out Macau News Agency –it’s daily news (seven days a week) delivered by the minute. Local news plus regional and international news feeds. And MB.tv is being reinforced, with more reports and interviews. With talk shows to follow soon, as well. I do believe we will now, finally, enjoy this tough profession more – of reporting what many people prefer to keep under the bedsheets.

Our magazines will continue to provide more in-depth stories, hard news. But this month – in a further evolution – with the distribution of Wall Street Journal magazine, a lifestyle publication adding content and international élan to Macau Business and Business Intelligence. The touch we needed, since Essential Macau continues, as always, to dominate the luxury media, the only vehicle of its kind in the city.

Hope you enjoy the changes and the up-to-the minute reportage.