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January - February 2000
Asia & Australia

27th February  Sydney   Source: Dow Jones
   
Aristocrat Leisure Ltd on the 22nd reported net profits of A$36 million for the six months ending December 31st. Domestic sales in Australia were down A$47 million for the period.
    The company is hoping to get its manufacturers license for Nevada in mid 2000. The result of the March 7th vote on Proposition 1A in California will also be important for the company. In South Africa, new markets are expected to come online during the year after delays through legal actions in 1999. To make the Stock more affordable the Aristocrat board is also planning a 4 for 1 stock split. The share price that had recently reached A$22 closed on Friday 25th at A$17.
 

25th February  Perth   Source: News Asia/Yahoo


    Over on the west coast of Australia the Burswood Casino in Perth has announced a 36% fall in profits for the first 6 months to December 31st. The drop to A$9 million is blamed on a lack of "High Rollers", defined as customers, mainly Asian, with a potential worth of A$500.000 or more. Profits fall 36% at West Australian Burswood casino
 

25th February  Wellington, NZ  Source: Dow Jones


    New Zealand's Sky City Ltd. following on from the potential successful bid for the Adelaide Casino in South Australia has announced that the company also has internet gaming plans.
    The focus will be on setting up a venture in Australia in one of the 5 states that have moved to regulate online gaming. The company believes that while the New Zealand governing Labour Party have made no indication of their policies, that Australia is potentially the best bet.
NZ Sky City To Pursue Casino-Internet Gaming In Australia
 

23rd February  Adelaide   Source: ABCNews


    New Zealand's Sky City that operate the Auckland Casino have emerged as the "Preferred bidder" for South Australia's Adelaide casino. The bid of A$180.3 million was made following the state announcing its intention to divest itself of all gambling interests. SA is the last state in the country to have a stake in the casino business. The property presently has 70 tables and 760 slots.
 

22nd February  Australia  Source: ABCNews


    The change of emphasis by Australian State Governments towards gambling in light of the December 1999 release of the Productivity Commission report continues.
    The Victorian Government is said to be preparing legislation that will encourage the Casino and Gaming Authority to promote responsible gambling. Measures being put forward include capping the number of Pokies to banning 24 gaming in country areas.
 

21st February  Manila  Source: Yahoo Asia News


    The news from Asia over the last week has once again concerned Stanley Ho. The main themes being his chairmanship of BW Resources, the companies rollercoaster stock price movement and investigation by the Philippine police on allegations of links to organized crime. Shares in BWR during October 1999 hit a high of PHP107, more than 52 times the price at the start of the year when Dr Ho took a 10% stake. Since that time they have fallen back, closing at PHP3.60 at the end of trading on Friday 18th. Potential manipulation of the price is under investigation by the Philippine Stock Exchange.
    Also on the 18th, Dr Ho was given the all clear by National Police Deputy Director-General Panfilo Lacson who said that their investigation has uncovered no evidence he was linked to criminal groups.
Tycoon's partners 'in scandal'
Casino tycoon
 

16th February  Aukland, NZ  Source: Dow Jones/Yahoo Aus/NZ


    Aukland casino operator Sky City Ltd. has unveiled six month results ending Dec 31st up 24% to NZ$27.7 million. Managing Director Evan Davies told Dow Jones newswires that Australia would be a natural place for the company to expand but would not say if Sky were on the shortlist to buy the Adelaide casino.
    In addition to the Aukland casino, the company also has 60% share in the casino presently being developed on the South island at Queenstown, and  55% of the Hamilton casino. These properties are expected to open in late 2000 and early 2001 respectively.
NZ Sky City CEO Sees Australia Expansion As Logical Move
NZ's Sky City 1H Net Pft NZ$27.7M Vs NZ$22.4M
 

9th February  Melbourne  Source: Yahoo Asia/AFP


The Crown Casino owned by Kerry Packer's Media group PBL has posted a win of A$111 million on gross revenues of A$468 million for the 6 months ended December 31st. The figures showing an increase od 1% and 0.2% respectively over the 6 months prior.
Packer's PBL lifts interim net profit 17 percent
 

5th February  Queensland, Australia Source: Sydney Morning Herald/AFR


   Queensland casino operator Jupiters has revealed a net profit on operations of A$33.7 for the 6 months ended December, up 43%. Gross operating revenue was A$306 million up 8% and EBITDA was A$75.8 million up 20%.
    Last year the company acquired AWA for A$143 million. Jupiters has also been chosen by the Queensland Government to operate the Gold Coast Convention Centre for which it is expected to make a contribution of A$150 million towards construction costs.
 

4th February  Hong Kong  Source: Yahoo Asia/AFP


    Macao casino operator Stanley Ho continues to be in the headlines in Asia. The two main stories concern the Philippines and Hong Kong. In the Philippines, the arrival of the 4 story "Jumbo Palace" in Manila harbour and Dr Ho's chairmanship of BW Resources has sparked fierce coverage in the press.
    In Hong Kong the prospect of a casino industry being set up could eventually take a sizeable number of the main players away from Macao's 9 casinos. The 78 year old Dr Ho is seeking an extension of the casino monopoly for Macao established in 1962 and due to expire in 2002.
Casino boss to defy Philippine probe over alleged crime links
HONG KONG: I'll quit if SAR opens casino: tycoon
 

3rd February  Manila  Source: ABC News


    ABC News on the 30th January carried a story from Reuters that Stanley Ho, due to travel to Manila for the ceremonial blessing of the "Jumbo Palace" floating restaurant, had cancelled the trip. Dr Ho, now chairman of Philippine company BW Resources was said to be outraged at the vilification he had received in the Philippine press and was seeking legal advice over allegations.
 

28th January  Tokyo  Source: Reuters


    Konami Co Ltd has become the first Japanese software and gaming machine manufacturer to be licensed by the Nevada Gaming Commission. The company through its subsidiary Konami Gaming Inc. is also aiming at being licensed in California, Mississippi and New Jersey. Konami plans to  invest 2.5 billion yen in a 20,000 square-metre site in Nevada
 

27th January  Manila  Source: Asia Pulse


    BW Resources that in recent weeks has seen its stock price soar and then tumble on the Philippine Stock Exchange after being linked with Macao casino operator Stanley Ho, has had its stock suspended on the Manila exchange. Reasons cited being rumours of a large foreign investment about to be made in the company.
    Mr Ho's floating "Jumbo Palace" restaurant and casino is currently located in Manila Bay after being towed from Hong Kong over the New Year.
 

18th January  Adelaide  Source: Aus Yahoo/Reuters


    Reuters Australia reported on January 14th of the impending sale of South Australia's Adelaide casino. Also on the sales block, as two of the state government's privatize their gambling interests are the TAB operations in South Australia and Northern Territories.
    The expected price for the Adelaide casino that is the sole operator in the state is A$200 million. Net gaming revenues in 1998/99 were a very respectable A$21 million on a gross of A$77.8 million. Queensland that sold its interest in it's TAB operations in 1999 raised approximately A$262 million.
 

8th January  Australia  Source: AFR


    The Australian Financial Review has a very good article on the changes that took place in the structure of Australia's casino industry in 1999. Also covered is the future for internet gaming and legislation within the country.

Comment:    It was thought a few months ago that Australia would become the new frontier for Internet casinos but now the situation is not so clear. Since the initial release of the Productivity Commission draft report the Australian gambling industry seems to be coming under increasing pressure from the Howard government. Top of the list are concerns about and the effects of problem gambling.
    During 1999 Melbourne's Crown casino was purchased by Kerry Packers PBL and Star City in Sydney by Tabcorp. AWA is also shortly going to disappear following a successful bid by Queensland based Jupiters.
 

5th January  Brisbane   Source: Reuters


    Queensland based casino operator Jupiters Ltd has announced that it will proceed to acquire the remaining shares in gaming equipment manufacturer AWA Ltd. The company has received acceptance of its bid of 65 A$ cents per share from 90% of shareholders.
 

3rd January  Shanghai   Source: The Australian


    The Chinese population of 1.3 billion is presently spending $1 billion a year on lottery tickets according to an article in The Australian. Gambling that was officially banned when the Communists came to power in 1949 is slowly making a comeback through two competing lotteries in Shanghai. The top jackpot in the Social Welfare Lottery being 5 million Yuan, around A$800,000.