Jack Black

01jbAgainst the downtrend, MGM China was the only local gaming operator to record growth in “the main floor business” in the dramatic 4th quarter of 2014, and, what’s more, an overall profit of HKD6.99 billion for the year, which represents a 5 percent increase compared to 2013 for Pansy Ho & (American) partners.
CEO Grant Bowie highlighted that last year “produced a number of records” for the company. Granting that MGM China “is not immune to the challenges confronting the Macau market,” a moderately confident Bowie trusts they “have robust and responsive strategies”. At the same time the company announced a special bonus to its staff as well as other incentives, following in the steps of other major operators worried sick over the risk of losing precious and scarce HR to the competition…
Mr Bowie also said the Macanese-American venture is keen to open shop in Cotai and thus explore “the greatest potential for growth.”

02jbAs the Policy Address approaches (Mar 23), lawmakers of the elected kind are jockeying to construct or mold the government’s agenda according to theirs as they (try to) anticipate the issues to be addressed.
Yesterday, José Pereira Coutinho, in the role of president of ATFPM, and other prominent members of his civil servants’ association met with Dr Chui Sai On to ask for “development of the democratic system,” namely the abolishment of appointed AL seats and universal suffrage for the Chief Executive. On a more down-to-earth level, the centrist legislator called for an increase in the annual subsidy for residents from 9,000 to 12,000 patacas and, more importantly, a raise of the retirement allowance from 7 to 10K. Mr Coutinho is doubling on his good hand by aiming at a long shot (political reform) and building on populist demand, which seems viable: if not matching those numbers, most probably Chui will open up his pockets, notwithstanding public coffers are suffering from a bad year in gaming: the Central Account is down 27.5% in January y-o-y.

03jbFrom the conservative side of the hemicycle, we heard FOAM lawmaker Lei Cheng I hitting another hot topic in town. She asked in a recent written inquiry to the AL for the suspension and revision of “the outdated” residency-granting scheme through IPIM.
Ms Lei advocates a definitive withdrawal of the residency-for-investment in property scheme, which stands suspended since 2007, in order to cool speculation. By exposing a “certain degree of randomness” she also asked for the suspension to enable a revision of the other two schemes under which residence to foreigners is granted: capital investment and imported qualified labor.
We couldn’t agree more with the workers federation legislator regarding the banning of residency for property or investment – it only brings speculation and eventually “dirty” money. But we can’t but slam her wish to suspend the import of qualified human resources. The scheme needs to be transparent, sure, but a “pause”, even temporarily, is simply not feasible due to the huge lack of HR. Dr Alexis Tam just opened over 500 vacancies for health and welfare, and Cotai 2.0 is around the corner. Ms Lei has to split her hand in order to gain our sympathy.

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