Friday, May 30, 2014

Thought For The Day

Ludwig Heinrich Edler von Mises (German: [ˈluːtvɪç fɔn ˈmiːzəs]; 29 September 1881 – 10 October 1973) was a philosopher, Austrian School economist, sociologist, and classical liberal. He became a prominent figure in the Austrian School of economic thought and is best known for his work on praxeology, a study of human choice and action. Fearing a Nazi takeover of Switzerland, where he was living at the time, Mises immigrated to the United States in 1940. Mises' thought has exerted significant influence on the libertarian movement in the United States in the mid-20th century.

How Tony Roma Won The Battle

I really thought that Tony Roma would fail by turning halal to come to Malaysia. If you talk of baby back ribs, nothing beats pork ribs. Well, sometimes its useful to trash what you know best in a new situation. Tony Roma was brave to do what they did and came through with flying colours. I mean, I still won't patronise the Malaysian outlets because I know pork ribs is the best there is, still there is sufficient critical mass for Tony Roma halal to succeed in Malaysia and would be a blueprint for them to expand to other Muslim majority countries.

Tony Roma's grilled beef ribs are one of its bestsellers.

Business Insider:

Tony Roma’s and baby back ribs are pretty much synonymous. Sure, it’s got steaks and barbeque chicken and seafood on its menu, but it’s the pork ribs that made the barbeque establishment so famous.

So how did this American steakhouse restaurant, owned by Dallas-based Romacorp, manage to become so popular with Malaysia’s Muslim-majority population?

If you thought it involved cutting pork from its menu, you’re half right.

When Tony Roma’s first made its debut here, it replaced its signature ribs with grilled beef ribs. It later introduced lamb ribs, an entrée that’s only available in its Malaysian joints.

It was a no-brainer: take pork off the menu and offer Malaysians a halal option.

But Tony Roma’s faced stiff competition from other American rivals so it decided to try out a move that would differentiate it from the rest: it got rid of its bar areas.

In Malaysia, many halal establishments have bars and serve liquor. This is because most Muslims here are more tolerant of drinking, as long as they are served halal meat.

Tony Roma’s decided to do away with its bars anyway. Romacorp president Ken Myres says revenue jumped after that.

“We didn’t think that (having a bar on the premises) would be offensive, but after we removed the bars, sales were up by double-digits,” he says.

Removing the bars also meant more space for more tables.

“We were doing pretty good sales at all our restaurants, but what we noticed in Malaysia is, if you want to go drinking, you go to a pub, but if you wanna eat, you go to a restaurant… so our bars were always quite empty,” says George Ang, CEO of Revenue Valley, the sole franchise holder of Tony Roma’s.

“So I thought if we took out the bars, we could fit in four more tables and have even more turn because every night we had to turn away customers at 8 or 9 o’clock. So by replacing the bars with the tables, we managed to turn more tables and that’s how our sales increased,” he explains.

Tony Roma’s has opened seven outlets here — the latest being the joint in Nu Sentral, Kuala Lumpur — since it was first introduced in Malaysia in 2006. By the end of the year, it plans to launch one restaurant each in the administrative capital of Putrajaya and the southern state of Johor.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Queen Forever

Queen is my all time numero uno band. There have been many pretenders to take over Freddie Mercury. The fans do not need someone to sound exactly like him but rather take what Freddie Mercury represents and collectively make the Queen sound again. You can never mistake a Queen sounding record, it has more to do with Brian May's guitar works, Roger Taylor's drumming and John Deacon's bass lines. Even though Deacon won't be joining the tour, the sound stays quite intact.

I must say from the videos, Adam Lambert is probably a fantastic fit for Queen, his theatrical presentation, flamboyance, solid vocal skills ... seems just about right to be fronting Queen. I guess I might have to start booking for a trip to OZ land in August, I mean Brian May and Roger Taylor are in their 60s already. Come to think of it, there are not many bands/artistes whose songs I can recite by heart (and I mean nearly all of them).

Visa Entertainment Pre-Sale

Like our own INXS, iconic English stadium rock band Queen spent many fruitless years trying desperately to find a lead singer with half the charisma of a tragically-departed icon. 

Now Queen has announced its first Australian tour in 29 years, in the process apparently settling on a replacement for Freddie Mercury: former American Idol runnerup Adam Lambert. He is probably best-known to Australians for finishing runner-up in the 2009 series of American Idol and for two top-10 singles the same year (Whataya Want From MeIf I Had You).
At this point Freddie-devotees and fans of Queen's classic-lineup will no doubt howl in outrage: the cheek of suggesting a reality television show contestant (and a runner-up at that) is fit to lace Mercury's boots!
Adam Lambert with Brian May.
Adam Lambert with Brian May. Photo: Christine Goodwin
Queen truly replacing Mercury was seen as every bit as difficult as INXS replacing Michael Hutchence. Make that harder; Mercury is widely acknolwedged as the greatest rock frontman of all time. The combination of his brazen showmanship, enormous likeability and a voice made for rock anthems was a unique package of talents.
Since Mercury died in 1991 from an AIDS-related illness, no fewer than 11 singers have fronted Queen, among them some music legends: Elton John, David Bowie and Annie Lennox. Robbie Williams even had a crack.
While Lambert, 32, doesn't have Mercury's giant stage presence, he has earned impressive reviews for his fine vocals and his own magnetism. Of his performance with Queen at the iHeart Radio concert in Las Vegas last September, Rolling Stone wrote: "Lambert astounded the audience on songs like We Will Rock You and the closing We Are The Champions and A Crazy Little Thing Called Love." Hollywood Reporter wrote: “Adam Lambert, Queen bring down the iHeart house.  With the perfect mix of rock attitude mixed with style, theatricality, sex appeal and impressive vocal gymnastics, [Lambert] took the band’s music to new heights.”

No account of Queen's revival can leave out its former bassist, John Deacon, who retired from the band in 1997. According to an article from the official Brian May website, Deacon has said: "Freddie can never be replaced." Since 2011, Neil Fairclough has played bass on tour. 
But there is no surer sign of the remaining original band members' confidence in Lambert than committing on its first major tour in nearly 30 years: before the four Australian concerts, Queen with Lambert will play 19 shows over a month in North America, starting June 19th.
At a press conference announcing the North American leg, guitarist May said "This happened organically with Adam. People are going to ask whether it's Queen without Freddie. I don't know. We just want to go out there one more time. Adam isn't an imitator. We're going into new territory."
Drummer Roger Taylor added: "Adam is the most incredible frontman. He's a great diva, and I mean that in the best possible way. We need that theatrically."
Lambert himself is suitably respectful of the situation: “The thought of sharing the stage for a full set in Australia is so beautifully surreal. I'm honoured to be able to pay my respects to Freddie's memory; he's a personal hero of mine, and I am deeply grateful for the chance to sing such powerful music for fans of this legendary band.
"I know this tour will be a huge milestone for me, and with the support of Brian, Roger and the rest of the band, I feel like magic will be on display.”
While it is probably too late for Queen to regain its place as one of the biggest rock acts on the planet - May and Taylor are 66 and 64 respectively - the likelihood of memorable (rather than regrettable) Queen concerts is extremely promising.
PERTH: Friday 22 August – Perth Arena
SYDNEY: Tuesday 26 August – Allphones Arena
MELBOURNE: Friday 29 August – Rod Laver Arena
BRISBANE – Monday 1 September – Brisbane Entertainment Centre

On sale 10am Wednesday 28 May from or 132 849. Visa pre-sale from 12pm (local time) Thursday 22 May until 11pm (local time) Sunday 25. Go to

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Louis Van Gaal ... Good Choice

Its a good choice, I'd still be preferring Martin O'Neill but Louis has the credentials I guess. I like the fact that the board moved fast to secure him before the World Cup, so he can start selling and buying. We need to sell at least 3-4 players. Well I guess, Red Devils will have another reason to root for Holland in the upcoming World Cup! Vidic has indicated he is going already. We need to sell Ferdinand, Valencia, Nani,... 
Louis van Gaal
The Dutchman, who has won titles with Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and AZ Alkmaar, will take charge at Old Trafford after leading the Netherlands at this summer's World Cup in Brazil.
"This club has big ambitions; I too have big ambitions," he said. "Together I'm sure we will make history."
He added: "It was always a wish for me to work in the Premier League.
"To work as a manager for Manchester United, the biggest club in the world, makes me very proud.
"I have managed in games at Old Trafford before and know what an incredible arena Old Trafford is and how passionate and knowledgeable the fans are."
After ending the reign of Moyes in April after a troubled 10 months, United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is convinced he has appointed the right man this time.
"His track record of success in winning leagues and cups across Europe throughout his career makes him the perfect choice," said Woodward.
Glory for Van Gaal
National titles: Ajax (1993-94, 1994-95, 1995-96), Barcelona (1997-98, 1998-99), AZ Alkmaar (2008-09), Bayern Munich (2009-10)
Champions League: Ajax (1994-95)
Uefa Cup: Ajax (1991-92)
"In Louis van Gaal, we have secured the services of one of the outstanding managers in the game today.
"Old Trafford provides him with a fitting stage on which to write new chapters in the Manchester United story. "
It seems Van Gaal has wasted no time in making his intentions clear.
"Louis has already communicated some great ideas for how the club can move forward," said United co-chairman Avie Glazer.
"The board is right behind him in his plans and everyone here is already looking forward to the start of next season."
Giggs, 40, who took charge for the final four games of the season following the departure of Moyes, met Van Gaal in the Netherlands last week to talk about his future.
Club legend Giggs, Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti and Borussia Dortmund manager Jurgen Klopp had been linked to the post, but Van Gaal is the man trusted to restore the club to the top of the domestic and European game.
Known for employing an attacking style and his demands for discipline from his players, he came to prominence when he guided a young Ajax team, featuring Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids and Patrick Kluivert, to a surprise Champions League final victory over AC Milan in 1995.
Second time around?
Louis van Gaal
Van Gaal claimed in his 2009 autobiography he had been lined up to replace Sir Alex Ferguson at United in 2002, but the Scot changed his mind to continue at the helm for another 11 years.
He won two Spanish league titles with Barcelona, but failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup with the Netherlands.
Van Gaal returned to Barca, but left the Catalans only three points above the relegation zone in La Liga when he was dismissed after half a season.
He revived his reputation back in his homeland, leading AZ Alkmaar to only the second Dutch title in their history, and then, in his first season in charge, took Bayern Munich to the German title and the Champions League final in 2010.
He was dismissed after results tailed off in the following campaign but laid the foundations for Bayern's current domination of German football by promoting young players such as midfielder Thomas Muller.
He has a strong relationship with United striker Robin van Persie, whom he installed as Netherlands captain in June 2013, and is expected to be given significant transfer funds to bring in new players as the club plot path back to the top.
"I have also been extremely impressed by his intelligence, thoughtful approach to the role and his diligence," said Woodward. "I am looking forward to working with him."

Van Gaal named United manager

- Club appoints Dutch national coach, who won multiple titles in Holland, Spain, Germany
- Ryan Giggs to be assistant manager
- Frans Hoek and Marcel Bout join as assistant coaches
Louis van Gaal will take over as manager of Manchester United from the 2014/15 season. He has signed a three-year contract.
Louis, 62, has managed at the top level of European football for over 20 years and in that time has won domestic titles and domestic cups in three countries, as well as the UEFA Champions League, the UEFA Cup, an Intercontinental Cup, two UEFA Super Cups and domestic Super Cups in Holland and Germany. 
He will take up his post after the FIFA World Cup, where he will manage the Dutch national team.
Ryan Giggs, English football's most decorated footballer and the United player with the most appearances in the club's history, has been appointed as assistant manager. Ryan took charge of the first team for the last four matches of the 2013/14 season.
Announcing the appointments, Ed Woodward said: "In Louis van Gaal, we have secured the services of one of the outstanding managers in the game today. He has achieved many things in his career to date and Old Trafford provides him with a fitting stage on which to write new chapters in the Manchester United story.

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Thicker The Tax Code, The Worse Things Get

We do not begrudge this issue much in Asia because the bulk of our tax codes are relatively simple, straight forward and with minimal rebates. We all should be very thankful for that. A number of developed countries have developed the tax code into an art form, creating legislation that evolves and multiply, so much so that they created a substantial new sub-industry in tax accounting, tax advice and compliance. 

These huge tax codes and legislations were mainly aimed at trying to better balance the avenues you get taxes from, to encourage spending and investment in certain areas, and to advance the social equality platform for various disadvantaged groups. ... And people, that is the crux of the problem, YOU DON'T USE THE TAX CODE to do the social accounting disbursements. or even to encourage various investments via tax advantageous legislations. You do that separately!!!

Why .... first if you put in a simplified code, say first for personal taxes ... RM20,000 tax free - that is a given, the initial sum to maintain your heads above poverty level. Then there should not be too many other levels above that because the more the levels, the more you encourage "BAD BEHAVIOUR" from various facets of the society. So, say RM20,001 to RM150,000 gets a 18% and above that 22%. Thats all, you will get an easy collection and verification. Try not to give rebates blah blah via taxation. The more convoluted you make it, the less effective it will be.

There are other ways to promote a reduction in social inequality, try not to do that via the tax code.

As for corporates, do a flat rate, but I would put in a low rate for the first RM500,000 so as to encourage small businesses... so it will be for profits below RM500,000 you pay 10%, any amount above that 20% flat. There will be plenty of incentives to do certain investments and deductions blah blah, and thats where BAD BEHAVIOUR arise. Just read the funny but real OZ companies' stories. My comments in red.


When Macquarie Bank handed down its profit result the other day, there was one thing that really stood out: its humungous tax bill.

Five years ago dear old Maccas paid just 7 per cent tax. Now it pays 40 per cent, well above the corporate tax rate of 30 per cent, and up half a billion dollars in the past two years alone. That's civic-mindedness for you.
(LOL, when the tax rate is 30%, the ONLY plausible reason why you are paying 40% is you have been whacked by the tax department for under declaring in previous years, kena fined big time, or reach s settlement of sorts for certain dubious violations ... not good, but funny enough to think the mighty and bright Mac Bank with tons of smart people can end up being too smart for themselves).

We confess that we have a big mushy soft spot for this bank, especially since it rebounded with such aplomb from its near-death experience in the financial crisis. We all pitched in gladly as taxpayers, of course, backing it to raise a cool $17 billion on the bond market with our sovereign guarantees, helping it to survive and prosper.

And it has not failed us. Like any high-minded philanthropist, however, Macquarie covets a low profile when it comes to its giving. The left hand, if you like, may not know what the right hand is getting up to.

We sought comment from the bank about its elephantine tax bill but were advised chief financial officer Patrick Upfold was too busy to talk. Then we were cordially invited to ''please check any facts you want to put to us''.

There are not really a lot of facts to put. There is a thwacking tax bill of $827 million followed by two short lines of explanation: ''Rate of 39.5 per cent broadly in line with prior year due to geographic mix of income and tax uncertainties.''

Sadly, there is scurrilous chatter doing the rounds that ''tax uncertainties'' is code for dear old Maccas being rumbled by the taxman, being forced to pay penalties and so forth. Further, there are vile accusations that the bank ought to provide a little more by way of disclosure, even inform the market perhaps.
What these cynics fail to comprehend is that it is vulgar for one to boast about one's charity. Surely modesty precludes Upfold from discussing the matter since he himself has had such an intimate involvement in the bank's affaires fiscales.

Unlike credit market risk, compliance risk and other assorted risks which are reported to the bank's risk management group, tax risk sits in the financial management group, which reports to Upfold.

We will delve further into the enigmas of Macquarie's tax shortly. In the meantime, something has just come in.

News Corp artform
What a poignant moment your humble essayist has just endured, happening upon none other than the latest set of accounts for Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

When it comes to paper shuffling and skiving out of tax, Murdoch's faithful are without peer. They are veritable masters of origami. Like the Macquarie of yore, tax is an art-form, not an obligation.

Unlike Maccas though, News has a legion of scribes, mobilised daily across the nation, avidly issuing instructions to anybody prepared to listen on precisely how to conduct their lives. How they should vote, adore billionaires, hate greenies, you know the drill.

And at the very time we perused the News financial statements, we noticed the lead story on the News Limited websites:

''Welcome to the welfare nation: half of Australia's families pay no net tax''.

 Damn those welfare bludgers. It was blood-boiling stuff.

News deemed this tax-bludgers yarn to be so important that it even ran above the ''Nude revelry at holiday house of horrors'' story on the Daily Tele's home page.

There was video coverage, too, captioned, ''Abbott budget pain 'shared by all'''. Shared by all? Really? Shared even by Abbott's cheerleaders at News Corporation?

Casting an eye over the latest profit result, it appeared that News' revenues for the three months to March were $2 billion and its tax bill was wait for it $1 million.
(How can anyone get away with this, $2bn profits, $1 million taxes ... if you implemented a straight out tax rate at 20%, you would have at least gotten $400m in taxes, obviously a lot of clever shit went into it).

It gets better. Drum-roll it actually recorded a $686 million income tax benefit for the nine months to March. How good is that! Taxpayers not only had the pleasure of sage advice from Murdoch's commentators but also the privilege of transferring $686 million of our sovereign wealth to News Corp.

Back to Maccas
Back in the day Macquarie was right in the game. In 2008 it even recorded a tax rate of 1.7 per cent after a legendary ''tax arb'' deal, a currency swap so successful it was embarrassing. It delivered a profit of $850 million in Hong Kong and a matching loss in Australia. Ergo big tax losses.
(This was so outrageous, its fixed trade between two parties with same interests).

Trouble was it also blew away a big chunk of franking credits and stuck out like a sore thumb. Since then, it has expanded further overseas, further constraining capacity to pay franked dividends.

With tax rate and franking situation, Maccas has to earn about $160 to get the return to shareholders that $100 used to make.

The bank has increased its payout ratio and it made a special return of capital from Sydney Airport. Shareholders can be well pleased, except on the issue of tax and disclosure. The combination of a 40 per cent tax rate and a 40 per cent franking has taken its toll.

As for the ''geographic mix of income and tax uncertainties'', the latter says nothing and the former has not changed sufficiently to match the deterioration in tax rate.

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

LedZep .. Was There Any Other

To like Led Zep before, you kinda needed to be a rebel ... yes, at times some of the sounds of rock are frivolous three chords of nothingness but screaming. LedZep's music is pure genius. It stands the test of time. Listen to OMG Heart doing a respectful rendition of Stairway To Heaven. In retrospect, the flow of the song can now be considered as pure genius, there's thing much more you could add to it, can you. You can redo the song years from now and I don't think you could top the original arrangement and execution. To be able to think a great song through and through, execute it well, building up the crescendos, the guitar solos, the drums, oh the drums, and harmonising the screeching vocals at the end ... ecstasy!

Watch the whole tribute show cause The Foo Fighters and Lenny Kravitz were amazing too.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Beijing Turning On The Screws On Gaming In Macau

I must say the new guy President Xi looks calm on the outside but he gets things done. The clampdown on sex trade in certain cities in southern China, the arrests of many provincial leaders on corruption, and now this in gaming, of which too much hot money and/or illicit money are being funneled into Macau.
Bloomberg:  Luck is running out for the high rollers of Hong Kong’s stock market.

After rallying an average 217 percent in the last two years, shares of the six-biggest listed Macau casino operators have tumbled 20 percent in 2014. The retreat, paced by MGM China Holdings Ltd. (2282) and billionaire Lui Che Woo’s Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. (27), is three times deeper than that of the Hang Seng Index, erasing $35 billion of market value.

Speculation that China will crack down on illegal fund transfers and tighten visa rules has rattled investors after mainland tourists bypassing currency controls fueled a decade-long boom in Macau gambling revenue to levels eight times that of the Las Vegas Strip. While analyst price targets are the highest since at least 2012 versus where the stocks are trading, Pictet Asset Management Ltd. and Aberdeen Asset Management Plc say valuations are still too expensive.

“Earnings growth will be more tapered,” Pauline Dan, who helps manage $153 billion as the Hong Kong-based head of greater China equities at Pictet Asset, said by phone. “We’ve been underweight on casino stocks since the second half of last year due to high valuations and concern China’s anti-corruption campaign would have an impact on this sector.”

President Xi Jinping, leader of the ruling Communist Party, has waged a campaign against graft since taking the reins of the world’s second-largest economy at the end of 2012.
Macau Arrests

Macau police said yesterday they arrested 12 people in February and March following an investigation into the use of a card-swiping device from China UnionPay Co., a state-backed payment card company. The crackdown is aimed at stopping gamblers from illegally using the devices in casino resorts to get cash for chips without buying anything, police said in an e-mailed statement.

“It is our top priority to combat overseas money laundering, capital flight and other illegal bank card use, and we collaborate closely with relevant authorities to do so,” UnionPay said in an e-mailed statement. “We have always prohibited cash-back activities through bankcard transactions that are made without actually making purchases.”

MGM China tumbled 8.2 percent yesterday and Galaxy sank 7.6 percent to the lowest since September. Sands China Ltd. (1928) fell 4.6 percent while Wynn Macau Ltd. plunged 8.5 percent, the most since October 2011. Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. lost 6.9 percent. SJM Holdings Ltd., owner of the Grand Lisboa project in Macau’s city-center, dropped 6.6 percent.
Gambling Boom

Investors are “very jittery,” Grant Govertsen, an analyst at Union Gaming Group in Macau, said by phone.

The companies are spending billions of dollars to expand facilities that cater to tourists in the city of about 600,000 people, the only place in China where casinos are allowed. Wynn Macau is building the $4 billion Wynn Palace resort to add to its sole casino in the city while Sands China and Galaxy are adding hotel rooms, shops and entertainment venues at their resorts on Cotai, Asia’s equivalent of the Las Vegas Strip.

Gambling revenue in Macau climbed 20 percent in the first three months of this year to 102.2 billion patacas ($12.8 billion), compared with $1.62 billion from the Las Vegas Strip, according to figures provided by the Macau and Nevada authorities.

Visitors from mainland China can legally bring 20,000 yuan ($3,200) into Macau and withdraw as much as 10,000 yuan a day at cash machines with each card they have.
Earnings Impact

After Macau reverted to Chinese rule in 1999, it retained a separate political and legal system from the mainland, which is still separated by a border. The city’s government ended a four-decade gambling monopoly held by Stanley Ho in 2002, issuing licenses to rivals.

Wendy Wong, a spokeswoman at Macau’s gaming regulator, and Daniel Tang, a spokesman at Macau’s Financial Intelligence Office, a government unit that monitors and probes financial crimes, weren’t immediately available for comment.

The revenue at stake from gamblers using the card-swiping method police said is illegal amounts to about 12 percent of the estimated total mass-market gamblers spend on chips in a year, according to Karen Tang, an analyst at Deutsche Bank AG in Hong Kong.

A decline of that size would pare earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization for the largest casino operators in Macau by 2 percent to 6 percent, she wrote, calling the selloff an overreaction by investors.
Legal Limit

Users can still obtain Macau currency beyond the legal limit through pawnshops that let customers use UnionPay cards to buy watches, which the stores then repurchase. High net-worth gamblers rely on junkets, businesses that lend Macau patacas which can then be repaid from China in yuan.

Plunges in the casino shares have left them trading at wider gaps to average 12-month price targets tracked by Bloomberg. The projection for Galaxy implies a 56 percent rally and 39 percent gain for Sands China, versus 19 percent for the Hang Seng index. Analysts have a total of five sell ratings and 132 buy recommendations on the six casino companies.
Even after this year’s declines, casino operators aren’t cheap, according to Pruksa Iamthongthong, who helps oversee $541 billion at Aberdeen Asset Management and said she doesn’t hold any Macau gambling stocks.

Wynn Macau trades at 19 times reported earnings, versus 10 times for the Hang Seng Index. MGM China has a multiple of 17, compared with 25 for Sands China, 23 for Galaxy and SJM’s 15.
Slowing Growth

State-owned China Central Television reported over the weekend that Macau visitors who didn’t travel on to a third-party country could receive a special stamp on their passport, which could make future visa applications more difficult, according to Union Gaming.

Macau casinos have “high regulatory risk,” Erwin Sanft, the head of China and Hong Kong equity research at Standard Chartered Plc, said in an interview from Hong Kong. “There’s generally a greater level of supervision from the mainland authorities on the flow of people and money into Macau. On top of that, we have the general tight liquidity that’s affecting gaming revenue growth.”

China’s economy is forecast to expand 7.3 percent this year, the slowest pace since 1990, according to a Bloomberg survey of analysts.

The slowdown is partly engineered by the government, which is trying to curb the shadow-banking industry and limit overheating in the property market. President Xi’s anti-graft campaign has curbed spending on restaurants and luxury goods while ensnaring dozens of businessmen and government officials.

“While the anti-corruption campaign had no impact on the casino sector last year, that’s starting to change,” Sanft said. “Looking into the second half, we think the growth in gambling revenue will get worse.” 

Things To Do During Lockdown

All local councils, utility companies, construction firms (those with permission) and city planners in Malaysia should take the opportunity...