Ho #1

Nov 15, 2010 4:12 PM

"We’re No. 1!"

That’s the way Ambrose So, CEO of Stanley Ho’s Macau gaming company declared his company’s position in the world’s largest gaming market.

In an interview with Macau Daily Times, So separated his Sociedade de Jogos de Macau (SJM) Holdings, from his American competitors, Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS), and Steve Wynn of Wynn Resorts Ltd. (WYNN), by noting a "cultural difference" in their approach to the Macau business.

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"We have over 95 percent of local employees, who have been working in the company for a long time. When these new comers (Adelson & Wynn) come into Macau they employ foreigners to lead the company.

"With due respect, they know very little about the local conditions, they are not familiar with the local network, they have their minds set in the Western culture and that might not be applicable here.

"So, they may not be able to get the results they expected. When you want to be successful in a certain place, number one you’ve got to have the experience; second, you’ve got to know the local conditions, and third, you’ve got to have the financial resources to back you up. You look at these essential elements that make up a successful formula, SJM’s got them all.

"For the other competitors, they are lacking in one or even two," So said.

As for their ranking, So proudly noted that SJM, led by their flagships Casino Lisboa and Grand Lisboa, held a 32 percent market share, "making us the leaders of the gaming industry in Macau."

So indicated his company is hoping to receive rights from the Macau government for a piece of land on the Cotai Strip for further development, But, he said the company was not in a hurry since its first priority is a redecorating project for Casino Lisboa "so that it has a consistent theme that integrates together with Grand Lisboa."

Asked about the health of company founder and Chairman Stanley Ho, So said, "He’s recovering. Given his age (88), it takes more time to recover. I see him from time to time. He’s recovering well but needs to take an extended rest."