Thursday, April 24, 2008

No Virgin in Macau

There is a convention and exhibition industry twist to the intriguing news from Macau that the government there is dramatically going to slow down casino development. According to today's FT, one of the key triggers for this clampdown was Richard Branson's announcement that he would piggy-back on one of the existing licenses to build a $3 billion casino project in the tiny SAR.

A key factor in the decision has been the strain on Macau's infrastructure imposed by the extraordinary boom in gambling activity which has seen the tiny Special Administrative Region reporting gaming revenues bigger than both Las Vegas and Atlantic City combined in the first quarter of this year.

Everybody trying to run an events business there speaks of the massive pressure on staffing. One of the government's goals is, apparently, to allow other businesses, and the South China Morning Post today speaks specifically of exhibitions and conventions, to have a more reasonable chance to get staff for their Macau operations.

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