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by Paulo A. Azevedo Photographs by António Mil-Homens
No more war talk
In an exclusive interview with Macau Business gaming tycoon Stanley
Ho Hung-sun has called for the city’s casino operators to bury the
hatchet and form a united front to take the industry forward. In this
candid interview, ‘Mr Macau’ also gives valuable insights from his long
life of challenges and reveals he has little interest in Las Vegas Sands
properties but is quite keen to branch out into Asia, especially Japan
acau Business: The industry in They are so wealthy and strongly supported by the
Macau is changing. Some things government, like the Hong Kong Jockey Club, it is not easy
were difficult to predict, like the to compete. I doubt we would ever be very successful in
world economic crisis, and others competition.
are the consequence of a new
environment. What are the main changes you Horse racing and dog racing is losing
think still need to be made? popularity in Macau. Or so it seems. Will you
Stanley Ho - The original intention of the government’s continue to have them and cover the losses or do
liberalisation of the gaming industry was to build on the you think that sooner or later they will disappear
strength of the industry and the expertise of casino because gaming is changing?
operators to make a moderate move towards diversification The main reason for keeping horse racing and greyhound
of the economy. For example, to bring in more conferences racing is to add more diversified elements to Macau’s
and exhibitions, and to attract more family tourists from gaming and tourism industry. The management of these two
overseas. I hope to see more diversification instead of only institutions are working hard to adapt to the changing
keen competition in the core gaming business. conditions, and they have my support.
What are the main goals that the six operators How should Macau grow?
aim for? A certain amount of diversification is desirable, but to be
We (the six operators) earn the biggest amount of money successful it should build on our existing strengths. With
and we have given a level of tax to the government which is such limited land area and population, long-term growth
very high, not even the government could have expected so will necessarily involve a greater degree of integration with
much. So, it is very logical that the six of us should stop the surrounding region.
talking of war. We should start working together, form an The nearby Hengqin Island is a good solution, and this
association and work for the benefit of Macau, for the has been clearly spelled out by Vice President Xi Jinping
benefit of the government and at the same time for the during his official visit to Macau.
benefit of ourselves. Because when we fight, we offer too
much commission to the gaming promoters. We have been Which areas [of business] should be part of that
working very hard to earn this title of concessionaire. And integration?
what is the point fighting among ourselves to benefit the I reckon that a small part of the island is useful to
gaming promoters? So really, this association should have Macau. The remaining huge area, they should reserved, like
been formed much earlier. the forest area. But we must admit that land in Macau is
too limited, much too limited. In Hong Kong, you can
Horse and dog racing expand by reclamation, and get more land for
development. But in Macau, it is different. We need
Some investors are expecting the liberalisation permission from the mainland for reclamation.
of sports betting in Macau. You have a monopoly Macau, as you see, is already so limited in area,
in this area, so how do you react to this especially the old area, which needs to be rebuilt. And yet,
possibility? we haven’t done that, so therefore, the idea to diversify into
I have no objection to this. Because sport is not Hengqin is a good one.
gambling and our chances against Hong Kong are very low.
How can you compete with a non profit-making concern? How about the progress of new SJM projects?
12 JUNE 2009
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