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That's Thirty Minutes Away... I'll Be There In Ten.

One wonders if Las Vegas Sands VP Rob Goldstein is looking forward to 2011, or regretting it. Rob recently became head of Sands Global Gamming Operations, or really Macau and Singapore. A position created just for him, and papers refer to him as number three in line. At first glance, it seems like a plum. Revenues for both locales are up this year, and are only expected to reach even higher.

Or is Uncle Sheldon sending a message by putting the Rob at the top? The Macau operations have hit two major stumbling blocks the past month, and Rob might be playing the cleaner, or at least a message to stop messing around.

The smaller of the problems is where to get workers to fill Sandsís three dominos development scheduled to open soon. Macau has a critical labor shortage, and the casinos are dependent on guest workers. The Galaxy MegaResort is about to open its doors, and they reached a deal on labor.

For the right to hire 2,000 foreign workers, half of the 8,000 employees for the resort must be local hires. Yes the math shows there is a 2,000-worker gap, but it's a compromise from with a SAR government reluctant to allow even more foreign workers than there are now. Ominously for Sands, the government has not approved anything for them, and an official recently pointedly asked about it by the press only responded by saying how gaming should develop "in an orderly fashion."

More troubling is the loss last month of Plots 7 & 8. This was a piece of land extending south of the three dominos to the major intersection at the arguable heart of Cotai. Earlier this year rival SJM tried to take the plots away using the intricacies of Macau's land laws. They were half successful. The government did take away the plot from Sands on the basis that the gaming approval paperwork for the plot was not handled timely fashion. The government however did not rule the land could be SJM's. While the plots future is up in the air, it is quite a setback for Sands to loose such a large and prime piece of land in their Cotai Strip grand plan.

Both of these have the same root at least, government relations. I bet Rob is literally practicing his Kowtow right now. I hope the new position comes with a crash helmet.


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