Sheldon Adelson, chairman of casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp, on Wednesday said he had been surprised by reports that the Chinese government might wind up one part of its current anti-corruption campaign – that against Communist Party cadres.
Las Vegas Sands is the parent company of Macau-based casino operator and developer Sands China Ltd.
“They announced within the last couple of days that they have achieved their goals in this corruption crackdown, and they are going to let up on it. It surprised the heck out of me,” said Mr Adelson.
That was a reference to a report by Xinhua, an official Chinese news agency, picked up by investment analysts. But Cameron McKnight of Wells Fargo Securities LLC said it appears to refer specifically to misconduct by party members, not to the drive generally against lavish spending and corruption in mainland Chinese business and society. A ramp up in scrutiny is still possible, Mr McKnight added.
Speaking at a question and answer session at Global Gaming Expo (G2E) 2014 in Las Vegas, Mr Adelson said: “I think players want to stay below the radar – [they] don’t want to show up there whether they are corrupt or not. There’s a lot of money involved. They don’t want to send a message to the government that they may be [corrupt]. They don’t want to be seen.”
He added: “So I think it’ll take a couple more months before people feel a little more comfortable, and they’ll come and play more.”
Mr Adelson said that when the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge is completed it would also make it easier for conference goers to head to Macau. Currently the city’s lack of long-haul air capacity at the Macau International Airport means long-distance travellers attending conventions at his Venetian Macao property must take a ferry or helicopter after flying to Hong Kong.
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"I am not going to speculate on what the [casino licence refreshment] tender requirements would be. I have full confidence and faith in the Macau government to treat everyone fairly"
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President and chief operating officer of Macau-based casino operator Sands China