It has been a long time in the making, but the foundation for a mass exodus on the part of American based companies from Macau to other gambling hotspots in Asia was laid a long time ago. The Chinese government has done it almost from the first day they invited American corporations into their country to construct casinos in Macau. They did it through legislation that made American corporations almost by definition less competitive in the marketplace than their Chinese counterparts and they did it with restrictive policies towards Macau that would stop them from truly booming just when they were at the point of taking off and haul them back into the mire of normality that the city had the potential to get out of if they were just given a level playing field by Beijing. And now that the economic downturn has hit Macau hard and the foolish mistakes of the government’s policy towards that city have been laid bare, the first American company has started shifting operations from Macau to Singapore in a move that is incongruously stunning and not surprising at the exact same time.
The company is the Las Vegas Sands Corporation which many people will recognize as being the creator of the Venetian Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. They have created a successor casino by the same name in Macau as well and the news for them throughout the year has been bad in terms of their finances and cash flows. They have already done massive layoffs in the United States in order to attempt to salvage some of their bottom line and as things go on it appears as though the Las Vegas Sands Corporation will now be doing those same massive layoffs in Macau. They are going to be firing approximately 500 workers at the Venetian Macau and that represents about 2% of the entire working population at the resort, a truly gigantic number in relation to their overall operations.
What is arguably more interesting as far as news is concerned however is that a majority of the 500 people that were laid off at the Venetian Macau will be given the option to relocate to Singapore in order to work at a casino operation that is under construction at the current moment in time. This is a not so subtle hint to the Chinese government that the Las Vegas Sands Corporation is well on its way to losing confidence in their ability to handle the gambling sector of the economy in Macau and because of that if the Chinese policy of restriction on the former Portuguese colony continues, it is quite possible that the Las Vegas Sands Corporation will start shifting even more of their operations away from Macau and into Singapore and other Asia-based locations that they might choose to develop in the not-too-distant future. While it does not appear that this event will actually trigger a mass exodus, continued attempts to maintain the failed policy of tourism restriction to Macau on the part of the Beijing central government could very well accomplish that where natural conditions never could.