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from Breakingviews:

Macau revenue drop augurs further slowdown

By Ethan Bilby

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Even Macau isn’t immune to China’s e-commerce boom. Online betting on soccer’s World Cup may have contributed to the first year-on-year drop in the enclave’s gaming revenue since 2010. That’s okay as long as tourist numbers keep rising.

For the past few years, investors in Macau only worried about the rate at which gambling revenue was growing: the upward trajectory was a given. That streak ended in June, as monthly gaming revenue fell 3.7 percent year on year to $3.4 billion – the first drop since Macau started publishing the data in 2010.

Part of that decline may be due to new competition from online betting as punters in China turned their attention to the World Cup. Although the People’s Republic bans gambling, it allows state-run lotteries where citizens can wager on sports matches. Internet sites like 500.com, Tencent’s QQ lottery, and Alibaba’s Taobao have made placing such bets as easy as tapping on a mobile phone.

from Breakingviews:

China Macau tolerance won’t last forever

By Rob Cox

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Spreadsheets with astonishing forecasts can only tell so much about China’s economic miracle. The sole path to believing, or at least comprehending, the scale of the country’s development is to see it. And so it is with any attempt to grasp Macau’s transformation from a Portuguese trading outpost to the Middle Kingdom’s gambling and entertainment hub.

from Breakingviews:

Macau casino stocks have further to fall

By Ethan Bilby 

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Macau casino stocks are still too high. A crackdown on Chinese payment card UnionPay is the latest threat to the gambling bonanza in the former Portuguese colony. Though casino stocks have fallen by almost a fifth in a few months, there’s not much room for disappointment.

from Breakingviews:

Macau casino stocks are priced for perfection

By Ethan Bilby

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist.  The opinions expressed are his own.

Macau’s casino stocks are priced for perfection. A building boom will expand capacity in China’s gambling enclave. But to justify their valuations, gaming operators not only need to attract more punters but encourage them to spend more at the tables. Any slowdown or increased competition could test excited multiples.

from Breakingviews:

For a contrarian bet, try China’s Las Vegas

By John Foley
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

If the chips are down, try Macau. China’s tiny, casino-filled enclave is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies, thanks to the punters who cross from the mainland, where gambling is banned. Macau will feel an economic slowdown, but if bad habits go uncurbed, 2012 should still be a pretty good year.

from David Cay Johnston:

Macau big for casinos, taxman

By David Cay Johnston
The author is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The Lisboa, the oldest casino in this thriving gambling city, features a polished black marble floor flecked with what looks like glittering gold. While all gamblers eventually find only fool's gold, like the glittering pyrite in the marble floor, government is mining real gold from the casinos here.

from DealZone:

Deals wrap: MGM China IPO may be a gamble for investors

Macau casino operator MGM China, co-owned in part by casino mogul Stanley Ho's daughter Pansy Ho, raised $1.5 billion from its Hong Kong initial public offering after pricing it at the top of its indicative range, triggering some concerns about lofty valuations.

Gambling revenues in the world's largest gaming market are at record highs, dwarfing those of Las Vegas and fueling a surge in share prices of local casino operators that boosted demand for MGM China's IPO.

from DealZone:

Deals wrap: Schneider fails to quash Tyco buyout rumors

Schneider Electric HQSchneider Electric issued a statement denying it had planned to buy U.S. conglomerate Tyco International, but this did little to kill the buyout talks as a source with knowledge of the matter said the French engineering group held earlier talks with Tyco.  Shares of Schneider initially rose more than 2 percent after the denial but dropped after analysts made comments speculating a tie-up may be coming soon, and is expected to weigh on shares in the long term.

BP's tie-up with Rosneft was at risk of collapse on Wednesday as the state-controlled Russian oil major said it would not extend a Thursday deadline on a $16 billion share swap. The possible failure of the deal would hurt CEO Bob Dudley, who on Thursday faces shareholders angered by the Gulf of Mexico disaster as BP holds its annual general meeting.

from Reuters Investigates:

The Macau Connection

We teamed up with Matt Isaacs and the Investigative Reporting Program at U.C. Berkeley for a special report last week on the murky world of Macau casinos.

"The Macau Connection" focused on Las Vegas Sands, which is being sued by the former CEO of its China division.

from Russell Boyce:

Asia – A Week in Pictures January 30, 2011

Even though the world's gaze is firmly focused on the events in Egypt and Tunisia, top stories continue to break in Asia. Last week during my morning call with Enny Nuraheni, our Indonesia Chief Photographer, she told there was a ferry on fire with hundreds on board, a train had crashed and Mount Bromo was spewing ash, all on the same day.  In Japan Mount Kirishima was erupting, thousands of birds culled to try to stop the spread of bird flu and the economy and government were under pressure.  But all Japanese worries were forgotten briefly as Japan beat Australia 1-0 in the AFC Asian Cup final in Doha. 

JAPAN/ 

Volcanic lightning or a dirty thunderstorm is seen above Shinmoedake peak as it erupts, between Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures, in this photo taken from Kirishima city and released by Minami-Nippon Shimbun January 28, 2011. Ash and rocks fell across a wide swathe of southern Japan straddling the prefectures of Miyazaki and Kagoshima on Thursday, as one of Mount Kirishima's many calderas erupted, prompting authorities to raise alert levels and call on for an evacuation of all residents within a 2 km (1.2 miles) radius of the volcano. REUTERS/Minami-Nippon Shimbun

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