The Cotai Belch Squad
The Venetian Macao hosted a meeting with investment bankers late last week to hype their Cotai plans and rustle up about US$7B of investment for refi and more (LVS denied spokesperson Ron Reese denied the whole thing was even happening.)
Fortunately for us, Flickr exists, and one of the bankers at the meeting happened to post a bunch of photos from the event. At the end of the first inning, the score is Social Media - 1, Las Vegas Sands - 0.
They say that picture is worth a thousand words... well... here's two thousand, keep the change.
To the right is Las Vegas Sands' CEO and Chairman Sheldon Adelson, who appears to be in mid-pitch. To his left is William Weidner, President and Chief Operating Officer, who appears to already know that nobody is going to give them any money to keep building.
And why should they.
Concerned about citizens blowing their life savings at the baccarat table, the Chinese government has enacted further visa restrictions on travel to Macau in addition to the already metered visa approval rates. Chinese citizens with Hong Kong visitation visas can no longer hop on over to Macau for an evening - a special Macau visa is now required.
Visa restrictions essentially limit the mass market, which the Venetian Macao is... er... was banking on. With the visions of LVSneyland popping like bubbles at the top of Willy Wonka's Fizzy Lifting Drink shaft, it's no wonder that Charlie Bucket (Weidner) and Grandpa Joe (Adelson) are looking to belch their way to safety. That it would be done so openly with a 'come kick the tires' tour of the Venetian Macau followed by lunch and a Powerpoint doesn't bode well.