For years, Las Vegas casinos have welcomed gamblers from China, especially during the Lunar New Year celebration. Now, a gaming mogul from Hong Kong hints that his expansion plans for Galaxy Gaming could include a property in the U.S.
It isn’t high on his agenda at the moment since he has major development plans in Macau. He also is focused on expected casino approvals in Japan and Taiwan.
And, Lui Che-woo, Asia’s second richest man, is 84 years old.
Age won’t interfere with his business plans, he told the Macau Daily Times. He’s just hitting his stride, he said.
“What can I do if I retire, watch the sun rise and set?”
Lui made his fortune in construction and real estate. And he is certainly familiar with the American market since he owns 13 hotels in the U.S., including seven Hiltons. Now, he said, he wants to do something “meaningful. I don’t want to just sit there waiting to die.”
It was only a decade ago that the chairman of Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. acquired a Macau gaming license, initially as a partner with Las Vegas Sands Corp. but later on his own. His Galaxy Macau resort on Cotai is allowed to build a maximum floor area of 21.5 million square feet, the most among the city’s six casino operators. That would quadruple the size of its existing resort.
Lui said that as part of his expansion plans for Galaxy he is open to acquiring U.S. casinos.
He describes gambling in Macau as “being different now” from the decades during which gambling was controlled by kingpin Stanley Ho.


The billions lavished on Macau resorts by Las Vegas companies is returning benefits to the Southern Nevada economy. That’s the way Steve Wynn sees it.
The Mirage Resorts chairman does not expect this super-sized spending spree to diminish any time soon, not with MGM starting construction of its second Macau resort, Sheldon Adelson continuing to build there and Wynn already looking ahead to phase two of the company’s Wynn Palace, which will not even open for nearly two years.
It adds up to something that is very good for Las Vegas, he said. The earnings generated by resort companies half a world removed from Las Vegas have helped fuel a level of continuing Strip energy that would not otherwise exist. Wynn views it as benefits of gaming’s globalization.
It’s helped stabilize an industry that has not enjoyed the best of times over the last four or five years as domestic consumers slowed their spending.
Steve Wynn seldom side steps an opportunity to make his points when the mood strikes, in this case teeing off on critics of the development capital American companies have been spending elsewhere around the world.
Wynn, MGM and Sheldon Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands will dedicate additional billions to other Asian ventures as companies get green lights from the governments. There’s a lot of money available for opportunities from Macau to Korea, Japan and possibly Mainland China. It’s all a matter of deciding how to best satisfy regional appetites for travel and tourism.
Wynn continued, “Were it not for foreign investments, our Las Vegas properties would look nothing like what they are now.” Of the more than $1.9 billion in gross revenue last year, Wynn said at least $1.2 billion of that figure was international income.
“This was our customers bringing money from aboard into the United States. It offset a lot of imports.” Wynn was looking at the big picture of marketing travel to the U.S. from around the world, implying some critics do not see the picture for what it is.
“Nevada (gaming) is an exporting company as much or more than Walt Disney. The fact that there is a Disneyland in Hong Kong and Tokyo has helped America. It has not hurt America.
“Without the hotels that we’re building and the ones Mr. Adelson is building and MGM is building from Macau to Singapore, things would be much worse in America. A lot of the vitality on the Strip would not exist.”
Domestic business levels would not have justified much of the spending that has occurred along the Strip corridor over the last several years of the Great Recession.”
The travel and entertainment industry spreads benefits far and wide as people move from one place to another taking their discretionary spending with them.
Wynn has made some of the same points as he has discussed possibilities for creating an “urban Wynn” in major U.S. cities, as the law allows.
These would be five-star destination hotels with casinos that would be apart from the public areas in the hotel. It’s appears to be what Wynn wants to do in the Boston area if he gets the license that is to be awarded there in the spring.
The concept sounds a lot like what we already see in Las Vegas with the Four Seasons and MGM’s Mandalay Bay under one roof. Caesars Palace has already turned one of its towers into a Nobu Hotel.
Let’s Make a Deal
The muffled sounds of deal-making are leaking out of Atlantic City as a variety of interests decide how to best take advantage of the opportunities created by online gaming.
The Caesars-owned, its partnership with 888 and the Boyd Gaming online vehicles are clearly dominant for the time being and each is looking to build momentum. Wynn Resorts is said to be interested in running one of the Caesars sites or “skins,” as they are known.
This has led to a lot of continuing speculation about the likely extent of Wynn’s involvement there and in online gaming generally. Since online activity within the state’s borders is still very much in a ramping up mode a lot of opportunity will depend on how regulators and even lawmakers respond to the needs of this new industry.
Will they give it the helping hand its needs? Will they sit on it, draping it with red tape and needless restrictions?
The shape of the future will become more apparent as the Atlantic City casinos and their partners step up marketing programs.
Caesars spokesman Seth Palansky is reluctant to peer too far ahead. The company is gearing up for its World Series of Poker that sprawls across about six weeks beginning in late May in Las Vegas. It will draw players from around the world and is being hyped in online promotions in Nevada and New Jersey.
How potential online players respond to marketing associated with the World Series will make it easier to answer a lot of questions. Palansky’s point: patience and disciplined thought will be important as operators look to take advantage of the opportunities – whatever they may be – associated with online activity.
“We’ll know a lot more later this year,” Palansky said.
And by then, the disillusioned Revel investors will have probably handed off their property to another owner and MGM will have been approved to return to the state as co-owner of the Borgata.


New York City residents are not eager to have a full-scale casino in the five boroughs. And if new casinos are built upstate, most city residents say they would not be interested in visiting.But a majority of city voters support a ballot measure to allow as many as seven casinos in New York State, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll.

The finding is good news for supporters of expanded gambling in the state, including Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo. New York City is home to about 40 percent of the state’s registered voters, and Election Day turnout in the city is expected to be higher than in many other parts of the state because of the race for mayor, so support for the casino measure in the city would greatly increase the odds of passage statewide.

Debate over the measure, which would amend the State Constitution, has been muted: A coalition of casino supporters, financed by about $3 million primarily donated by gambling interests, has begun airing television commercials in the city and on Long Island. There is little organized opposition.

The poll quoted the Nov. 5 ballot language, which lists only positive arguments for allowing casinos, such as promoting job growth and increasing education funding. After hearing that language, six in 10 likely voters said they would vote yes.

“That is a strong margin of victory for the gambling amendment,” said Steven A. Greenberg, a Siena College pollster. “If support is 60 percent in New York City, I am hard pressed to see how it could fail statewide.”

City residents, however, were less enthusiastic about opening a full-scale casino in the city, with 42 percent in favor and 50 percent opposed.

New York already has five full-scale casinos run by Indian tribes and nine slot machine parlors at racetracks. Mr. Cuomo and lawmakers have agreed that if the ballot measure passes, they would allow only four casinos at first, and all of them would be upstate.

In the new poll, New York City residents said they expected both positive and negative effects from expanded casino gambling.

Seven in 10 said they thought it was quite likely that the casinos would bring in significant new revenue for government.

“Just in my apartment building alone, twice a month they have buses come and take people to Atlantic City,” Albert Perrotto, 55, from Far Rockaway, Queens, said in a follow-up interview. “If they take them to upstate New York instead, it would be a shorter ride, and people would go upstate, and the revenue would come here instead. It makes a lot of sense to me.”

At the same time, six in 10 city residents said they thought it was most likely that new casinos would increase societal problems such as crime and compulsive gambling.

Quin Stratton, 23, who works for a credit-card processing center and lives in the Bronx, said she supported the amendment but would not want to see a full-scale casino developed in New York City. “If it’s in the city, it will attract people who don’t have a lot of money, and they will blow their whole paycheck,” she said.

“If the casinos are upstate, or far away, it’s harder,” Ms. Stratton added. “They would have to actually get into a car and would have to make that decision. If it’s in the city, then someone who gets off work will walk by and say, ‘Hey it’s a casino!’ and blow everything they just made.”

Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, has promoted the casino measure as an economic boon to struggling upstate regions and has predicted that tourists could be lured beyond New York City by the new casinos. But city residents in the poll expressed little interest in traveling upstate to visit a gambling destination. Only about one-third of city residents said they would be likely to visit one of the new casinos, and two-thirds said it was unlikely they would do so.

The citywide poll was conducted on landlines and cellphones from Oct. 21 to 26 with 1,215 adults, including 701 likely voters. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points for all adults and four percentage points for likely voters.


“No to More Casinos in New York State” (editorial, Oct. 25) holds casinos responsible for a range of ills. To the contrary, casinos are a part of the mainstream entertainment industry, and they are supporting local businesses, paying higher average wages than similar businesses and helping communities grow. This is why communities continue to embrace gambling, and why today commercial casinos can be found in 23 states.

We take issue with the editorial’s portrayal of our industry. From Bethlehem, Pa., to Kansas City, Mo., and from the Gulf Coast to the Midwest, casinos are valued as community partners and thriving economic engines. That is the reality of what’s taking place across the country, and it’s a role we’re proud to play.


In the 48 states that permit at least some form of commercial gambling, lively debate continues over the industry’s relentless efforts to expand. On Tuesday, New Yorkers will vote on a proposed constitutional amendment that would permit up to seven new full-scale gambling casinos in the state. (The state’s five existing casinos are confined to Indian reservations.)

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo argues that the amendment would create jobs, increase school aid and lower property taxes. And, yes, it would do all those things. But it’s still a bad idea. Other strategies would accomplish the same goals more effectively, without the disastrous spillovers that invariably accompany expanded gambling.

The ostensible attraction of the amendment is its promise to relieve budget woes without new taxes. In proponents’ eyes, state income from gambling is a form of voluntary tax payment. But modern casino revenue comes mostly from slot machines, and the relationship between them and some of their patrons is voluntary in only the most superficial sense. “Addiction by Design” (Princeton University Press, 2012), Natasha Dow Schüll’s gripping account of slot machine gambling in Las Vegas, looks into the technical wizardry underlying modern slots and their effects on players. According to slot designers and casino managers surveyed in the book, the mission of these machines is simple: to separate patrons from their money in the most ruthlessly efficient — yet psychologically agreeable — ways possible.

The machines create an experience so compelling that some people stop playing only when they’ve exhausted every available resource. Ms. Schüll, a cultural anthropologist on the M.I.T. faculty, interviews a slots player who sees the machines as so immersive that winning becomes a distraction, something that matters only because it lets her play a little longer. “It’s like being in the eye of a storm,” the woman says, later adding, “You aren’t really there — you’re with the machine and that’s all you’re with.”

Psychologists describe this state as flow, a feeling of being so absorbed in what you’re doing that you become completely unaware of the passage of time. Artists, writers and others who achieve flow in their work call it one of the most pleasurable psychological states, one that greatly enhances productivity. But in hindsight, at least, flow as experienced by some slots players is a state that leads to ruin.

If casino gambling were expanded, most New Yorkers wouldn’t be directly affected. Even in places that already have it, only a small proportion of people become problem gamblers. But much the same could be said of crack cocaine. If it were legal, most people wouldn’t even use it, much less become addicted to it. But in both cases, the number who would become addicted, though small in proportional terms, would be disturbing. If governments shouldn’t raise revenue by sharing revenue with sellers of crack cocaine, why should they enter similar pacts with casino operators?

A 2004 study of legalized casino gambling in Ontario estimated that about one-third of casino revenue came from patrons with significant gambling problems. Libertarians contend that if gambling addicts freely choose to waste their own money, that is none of society’s business. But addiction also harms the innocent, making marriages more fragile and bankruptcies more likely. Properly accounting for these spillovers exposes casino expansion as not only an inhumane policy, but one that could actually reduce state revenue.

Historically, societies have tried to shield their most vulnerable members from dangerous temptations, including many forms of gambling and addictive drugs. Discreet private gambling and soft drug use are seldom targets of these prohibitions. But active revenue sharing with casino operators crosses a bright line. It lends the state’s imprimatur to activities that ruin lives. Governments have been properly reluctant to take this step.

As parents tell their children, the best way to get ahead is to get more education, work hard and save for the future. For many years, however, New York has encouraged its citizens to rely instead on luck, to dream about what they’d do if they won the state lottery. “I’d buy the company and fire my boss,” intoned one artfully produced, state-funded television spot.

New York does need more revenue. And though no one relishes higher taxes in the abstract, there are many things we should be taxing but aren’t. When we buy heavier vehicles, for example, we put others at more risk. If vehicles were taxed by weight, we’d have an incentive to consider that risk when buying. Companies may emit pollution not because they want to ignore the environment, but because cleaner processes are expensive. If we taxed pollution, businesses would emit less of it. Instead of promoting gambling, the governor should explain that the state should be taxing activities that cause more harm than good, even if we didn’t need the revenue.

Politicians naturally fear taking unpopular positions. But voters are sometimes willing to cut them some slack. Mr. Cuomo might reflect on the repeated vetoes of death penalty laws by his father, Mario M. Cuomo, when he was governor in the 1980s and ’90s. The death penalty was extremely popular at the time, yet voters sensed that the vetoes sprang from sincere conviction, and they were quick to forgive him.

Voters might be similarly tolerant if the current Governor Cuomo advocated more principled methods of generating new state revenue. He’ll be more motivated to do so if voters reject an amendment that’s sure to increase addiction by design.


BOSTON — Suffolk Downs, a famed but fading thoroughbred racetrack in the neighborhood of East Boston, had dreams of a major revitalization, and when the state approved casinos in 2011, it partnered with the Caesars Entertainment Corporation to apply for the sole casino license that would be awarded in the greater Boston. They planned a $1 billion destination resort casino that would be one of the biggest in the Western Hemisphere, a curved, glassy mega-palace that might look more at home in Miami Beach than in this gritty neighborhood hard by Logan International Airport.

Suffolk Downs needed voter approval before it could advance to the next stage for the license and invested more than $2 million in a campaign for a yes vote on a referendum on Tuesday’s ballot.

But in mid-October, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, reputed to be one of the toughest in the country, pulled the plug on Caesars, saying it was unsuitable for doing business in the state. Suffolk Downs asked Caesars to withdraw, and it did.

Now, Suffolk Downs is suddenly scrambling to find a new partner. And the election is going ahead because the ballots have already been printed — with Caesars’ name on them.

Suffolk Downs says Caesars’ exit does not change anything as far as voters go. But opponents say that it changes everything and that it is absurd for voters to be passing judgment on something that does not exist.

“At a certain point, you can’t cancel a vote,” said Pamela Wilmot, the executive director of Common Cause Massachusetts, a watchdog group, which has not taken a position on the casino. “But this throws the whole thing into doubt, with voters not really knowing what they’re voting for.”

If the referendum passes, she said, opponents will probably challenge it in court. “Voter intent will be difficult to ascertain, given the situation,” she said.

As confusing as this might be for voters, Suffolk needs their approval before it can compete against two potent rivals that are also seeking the license for a casino to be built in the untapped, lucrative Eastern Massachusetts market. At stake is billions of dollars in anticipated revenue, some of which will be shared with the host community and the state.

One rival is Steve Wynn, the Las Vegas casino mogul and chief executive of Wynn Resorts Ltd., who has proposed a $1.2 billion resort casino on the Mystic River waterfront, a few miles west in the town of Everett. Residents there have approved his project with 86.5 percent of the vote.

Another competitor is Foxwoods, which is planning a $1 billion casino in the suburban town of Milford, about 40 miles southwest of Boston. Milford will vote on the Foxwoods plan on Nov. 19.

Once they have local approval, the casinos must submit their final applications to the state by Dec. 31. The gambling commission is to award the license by spring.

Suffolk Downs was believed to have the edge because of its strong political backing, most notably from Mayor Thomas M. Menino of Boston. The track, where the Beatles played in 1966, is also a sentimental favorite since it has been here almost 80 years. Pro-casino organizers are trading on that nostalgic connection: their green and yellow signs say “Vote ‘yes’ for Suffolk Downs.” In tiny letters is the Caesars logo, but the word “casino” does not appear.

But the gambling commission threw cold water on Caesars’ participation. In a lengthy report, it cited Caesars’ $24 billion debt, alleged ties of an associate to organized crime in Russia and a scandal involving a high-roller named Terrance Watanabe, who racked up millions of dollars in unpaid debt at Caesars casinos and in turn claimed that the company encouraged him to gamble while he was intoxicated.

Suffolk Downs officials said they were blindsided by the report. Caesars said it was equally surprised. On its way out, the company, which operates more than 50 other casinos across the world, said the Massachusetts standards for suitability were “arbitrary, unreasonable and inconsistent with those that exist in every other gaming jurisdiction.”

The commission did deem Suffolk Downs suitable for a casino. As track officials seek a new partner, they have sought to minimize any sense of disruption. Chip Tuttle, the chief operating officer of Suffolk Downs, said the ballot referendum was merely a land use question for voters. He said the track would acquire a new partner quickly and hold it to the same standards agreed to by Caesars.