The Ma­cau con­nec­tion

THE CAP­I­TAL OF GLOBAL GAM­ING HAS MOVED TO CHINA. THE DEAL TAKES A LOOK AT THE ROLE THOU­SANDS OF AUS­TRALIANS ARE PLAY­ING IN MA­CAU – AND TALKS EX­CLU­SIVELY TO JAMES PACKER AND HIS BUSI­NESS PART­NER LAWRENCE HO (SEE PAGE 12).

The Australian - The Deal - - Front Page - By Da­mon Kitney

When Len Ainsworth first met casino mag­nate Stan­ley Ho in a non­de­script of­fice build­ing in Hong Kong in 1961, the Aus­tralian pok­ies king could never have imag­ined that the once sleepy fish­ing vil­lage of Ma­cau – an hour’s ferry ride away – would one day over­take Las Vegas as the world’s gam­ing cap­i­tal.

But, he says, for all of mod­ern- day Ma­cau’s gleam­ing glass tow­ers and palaces pur­pose-built for the big­gest gam­ing­whales on the planet, one thing in the boom­ingChi­nese ter­ri­tory hasn’t changed. “There have al­ways been many, many thou­sands of beau­ti­ful girls up there,” Ainsworth, who last month cel­e­brated his 90th birth­day, tells the deal with a broad smile. “There is a big sur­plus.”

Ainsworth, who has a good eye for a busi­ness deal, also saw­fi­nan­cial op­por­tu­nity in the for­mer Por­tuguese colony, known for decades as a haven for gang­sters, pros­ti­tutes and or­gan­ised crime. How­ever, all that changed when Ho’s four-decade­monopoly on the Ma­cau casino mar­ket came to an end in 2002 and it was opened up to take in new op­er­a­tors from Las Vegas, Asia and Aus­tralia.

Thanks to Ainsworth’s hard yards, Aris­to­crat, the com­pany that he founded, to­day sup­plies more than half of the shiny gam­ing­ma­chines that in­creas­ingly take pride of place in Ma­cau’s casi­nos. And he is ex­pand­ing his AinsworthGam­ing Tech­nol­ogy into the ter­ri­tory, the only place un­der Bei­jing’s ad­min­is­tra­tion where casino gam­bling is le­gal.

He is not alone. Many Aus­tralian­shave rid­den­the boom­inMa­cau’s gam­bling mar­ket, which is ex­pected to rake in gam­ing rev­enues of more than $42 bil­lion this year – far out­strip­ping Las Vegas’s an­nual turnover of about $10 bil­lion.

More than 2000 Aus­tralians are work­ing in Ma­cau, in­clud­ing a host of ex­ec­u­tives spread across a wide port­fo­lio of roles within the re­gion’s

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.