Lawrence Ho, son of Macau gambling tycoon Stanley Ho, plans to invest more than $5 billion in Japan if Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd. receives permission to build a casino here as he sees constraints on development at home.
This post essentially builds off TheIpleJonesion’s fantastic lore, explaining the situation which Portugal and her former territories find themselves in during the early 1980s. It is broken down along geographic lines.
The Metropolitan (Continental Portugal and the Outer Island Provinces of the Azores, Madeira, Cabo Verde and São Tomé & Príncipe):
With the removal of the Salazar regime in 1954, Portugal transitioned into a military-dominated presidential republic. Liberal market reforms made by the democratically-elected Fraternity Party saw an end to state interventionism in the Portuguese economy and a move away from corporatist macroeconomic organisation towards capitalistic free-market economics. This transformed the predominately-agricultural Portuguese economy into an industrial powerhouse, as factories popped up across the continental provinces in what is now jokingly referred to as the ‘Portuguese Industrial Revolution’. As Portugal modernised its economy, it attained a developmental trajectory similar to that of the Asian Tigers IOTL. This was only helped by the extremely cheap importation of primary resources from Portugal’s former colonies in Africa, and the discount export markets which the escudo africano monetary area had established in these nations. Portugal’s economic ascension was accompanied by huge progress in the fields of education and infrastructure, as bridges and roads were constructed and continental illiteracy abolished. Owing to its pro-business sympathies and dubious ties to the economic elite, the Fraternity Party ensured that no anti-trust measures were implemented as part of its economic reform strategy, allowing the influential ‘40 Families’ of Portugal’s south to expand their dominion over those sectors of the Portuguese economy that were privatised during the post-Salazar liberalisation. The result was an economic model that verged on plutocracy, as the anti-communist military conspired with powerful businessmen and corrupt Fraternity Party politicians to maintain the upper class’ hold on power. This alliance of convenience continued up until the late seventies when a cadre of disillusioned, left-leaning junior military officers led a mass of young conscripts to seize power in the infamous 1976 Carnation Revolution. The Revolution, which in many ways resembled the anti-Salazar coup 22 years prior, saw the passage of new anti-trust and anti-corruption laws after the democratically-socialist Movement for Democratic Unity’s (MDU) victory in the junta-supervised elections of 1977. Though the Revolution would establish a fairer two-party democratic system in which the Conservative Party (the successor to the Fraternity Party) would compete with the MDU in free elections, it also confirmed for a second time the military’s position as a powerful force in Portuguese politics. As such, despite the removal of plutocracy and the reinstatement of fair elections, the Portugal of the 1980s remains a “flawed democracy” according to most outside observer assessments. Though this chaos certainly had a negative impact on Portuguese standards of living, the nation remains a dynamic economic force in Europe and an over-achiever when it comes to developmental outcomes. As the 1980s continue on, Portugal is beginning its transition away from heavy industry towards a stronger services sector while it signs special trade agreements with its partners in the European Common Market and continues to pursue close economic ties with its former colonies of Guinea and Angola. From the sparkling beaches of São Tomé & Príncipe to the luscious fields of northern Portugal and the windswept hills of the Azores, there is no doubt that the Republic has become quite the enterprising nation.
The Outer Metropolitan (Portuguese India, Macau and Timor-Leste):
Portuguese India: Had the Indian subcontinent not fractured so easily in the late 1950s, it is difficult to see how Portugal would have been able to maintain any sort of presence in the territories of Goa, Daman, Diu, Dadra and Nagar-Haveli. The defeat of Indian forces in the Kashmir Conflict and the successful declaration of Dravidian independence after a bloody insurgency, however, created an opportunity for Portuguese policymakers. Years of economic development across Portuguese India and a deliberate policy of promoting an independent Portuguese-Indian identity strengthened Portugal’s claim to these territories, while deals signed with the US establishing an American naval base at Nova Goa and US protection over Portuguese India provided a strong deterrent. These gains were then solidified by deals with the Dravidian and Indian governments, which saw Portuguese sovereignty confirmed over Goa, Daman and Diu in return for Portugal ceding Dadra, Pani-Cola and Nagar-Haveli back to India, as well as the lending of strong military support to the Dravidians. Though there remains significant agitation across Portuguese India (now referred to as the Goa, Daman & Diu Province), Portuguese sovereignty over these increasingly productive and idyllic territories appears secure for the foreseeable future. What’s more, it is now not uncommon to see ethnic Indians roaming the streets of Continental Portugal as fully-fledged citizens. The long-desired union of Portugal to the Subcontinent finally appears complete. Macau: Macau is seen in the eyes of most as the crown jewel of Portugal’s Asian provinces. She is home to some of the most important banks in Asia and competes with Shanghai for the status of the financial capital of China. Not only that, but Macau competes with Bali, Jeju, Tokyo and Beijing for the most popular tourist destination in the Asian region, already being the destination of choice for the rich and famous, who flock to her many bars, casinos, prestigious restaurants and world-class designer fashion houses. The Macau of the 1980s is covered in stunning skyscrapers and jaw-dropping urban greenery. Indeed, the city boasts a population of nearly a million, with land reclamation projects having allowed for a vast expansion of the province’s urban domain. The city’s population includes tens of thousands of ethnic Portuguese residents, just as hundreds of thousands of ethnic Chiese now live in continental Portugal, being the second-largest ethnic minority community behind African migrants from Guinea, Mozambique and Angola, but ahead of Indian migrants from Goa. At any rate, just as Macau has in many ways become the financial and touristic centre of Asia, it has also become a centre for intrigue. The unsuccessful Chinese attempt to seize Macau by force in 1969, for example, only saw a further upgrade of the province’s military defences, with the permanent deployment of an extra submarine to Macau Habour alongside thousands of additional troops and another fighter squadron. Meanwhile, the ‘Bloody Game’ that started in the late 1950s between Portuguese and Chinese spies, local casino syndicates, corrupt local politicians and the four main triad groups continues to this day, with the southern portions of Macau city being known for violent crime and a dirty underworld. Indeed, it appears that the province is as vice-ridden as it is glamorous. Timor: A series of bilateral agreements in the 1950s saw Timor-Leste recognised as integral Portuguese territory by the Indonesians, just as the peninsula came under separate US/Australian/SEATO military protection, thus securing Portuguese rule over the territory indefinitely. Despite this, prohibitive travel times and ticket costs kept Timor physically isolated from the rest of the Portuguese Republic until the mid-1960s, when she suddenly gained access to far more state support as the African colonies achieved independence and international travel became easier. The Timor of the 1980s remains a quiet corner of the Portuguese world, although it has grown increasingly successful as a tourist and natural resource hub.
The former African colonies (Guinea, Angola, Cabinda and Mozambique):
Guinea: Having achieved her independence in 1965, the Guinean Republic maintained a slow but steady trajectory of economic development under close Portuguese supervision. Indeed, the nation remained remarkably stable throughout her first decades of independence, developing a fully-fledged democratic system over time which afforded it one of the highest standards of living among the continent’s independent states. Portugal’s close geographic proximity to Guinea, coupled with its near-identical struggle for democratic governance, has rendered the two nations close allies. Guinea remains the first port of call for Portuguese firms looking to establish a presence in Africa, with the nation functioning as the flagship model for Portuguese-African influence under the Silvestre Doctrine. Angola (and Cabinda): Though the Silvestre Doctrine had originally intended for the agricultural Ovimbundu people of Angola’s central plateau to dominate the Federal Angolan Republic post-independence (in a close alliance with the Portuguese), the unexpected strength of the rival Kimbundu people saw the two ethnic groups clash in a violent struggle for political power that lasted between 1964 and 1967. With Portuguese assets sustaining increasing damage during the bloody affair, Lisboa turned to its Kikongo allies in Angola’s north for assistance. United by its staunchly pro-Portuguese and anti-Communist leader from the nearby Ngbandi people of the then Belgian Congo, Mobutu Sese Seko, a powerful Kikongo army marched south and captured Luanda from the leftist Kimbundu militias. This placed Angola under the rule of Portugal’s Kikongo allies, who then turned to the Ovimbundu for additional political support, as well as the ethnic Portuguese and minority tribes of Angola’s south. Seko now rules Angola with an iron fist, using Portugal, the Ovimbundu, Portuguese-Angolans and the minority tribes to maintain power. His ties to Portuguese commercial interests have proven an immense asset for the Portuguese economy, which sees its manufacturing sector and domestic consumption fueled by cheap primary resource imports from Angola. Using his ethnic ties to the north, Seko became a major player in the war for Congolese independence, leveraging this assistance to become the political kingmaker in the newly-independent Republic of Zaire. This has resulted in Zaire effectively becoming a joint Luso-Angolan puppet state, with its government ministries littered with Portuguese and Angolan advisors, and the nation having joined the escudo africano monetary zone. Moreover, though it voted for independence in 1960, the Cabindan Republic was quickly subsumed into the Federal Angolan Republic as one of the conditions for an alliance between Seko’s Kikongo faction and the Portuguese. As a result, Luso-Angolan influence now runs from Luanda, past Zaire, into Cabinda and beyond towards the Republic of the Congo, making Angola one of the most powerful forces in the new Africa. Mozambique: The post-independence climate in the Mozambican Republic of 1965 resembled that of Angola at first. Rival ethnic groups clashed for power as election after election failed to yield clear results and cultural entities with little in common began to embrace armed struggle instead of the ballot. Unlike in Angola, however, Portugal was unable to salvage the situation and was forced to withdraw from the chaotic banana republic. Those ethnic Portuguese who had for centuries called Mozambique home largely fled to southern Angola or accepted government offers for free land in São Tomé & Príncipe, as Tanzanian-Arabian-backed Islamic militias fought for control in the north, and the African nationalist factions from the Shona tribes clashed with the leftist Shangaan in the south. Eventually, the Shona managed to secure national control, establishing a pan-African state under the dictatorial rule of Gondo Matombo. Without the support of sympathetic regimes in Rhodesia, Moscow or Beijing, the Free Nation of Mozambique is an isolated state. It maintains rivalries with Tanzania (as a result of Dodoma’s support for Salafist rebels in the north), North Rhodesia and Nyasaland (after the preceding Shangaan regime seized the Likoma and Chizumulu islands in 1966), South Africa and Rhodesia (for Mozambique’s support of radical pan-African insurgent groups) and Seko’s Angola (which obviously opposes the Matombo regime on ideological grounds). President Matombo’s chaotic economic policies have driven away foreign investors, while Mozambican civilians are organised en masse into autonomous units of the “African People’s Defence Militia” to defend against “Islamic subjugation, Boer segregation, Portuguese neocolonisation and the enslavement of the African people”. Sadly, it seems Mozambique’s violent decline managed only to produce the very worst kind of basket case dictatorship. A huge thanks to guyfromvault11 for being an amazing teammate, to the mods for a season well-run, and to all the other players for making this such an engaging season. I can’t wait for the next one!
Market Movers: I Hope you lose more money than I do today!
DJIA Exxon Mobil (XOM) – The energy giant announced it is to exit some joint ventures with Russia’s Rosneft, due to Western sanctions imposed 4 years ago. (Newswires) Verizon (VZ) – The co. is to pay over USD 600mln to the US Treasury regarding a 2017 settlement. (Newswires) Walmart (WMT) / Kroger (KR) / Gun Names (AOBC, RGR) – Walmart & Kroger has raised the age requirement for firearm purchases to 21. (Newswires) S&P500 Align Technology (ALGN) – Co. is evaluating SmileDirectClub over its Invisalign product. (Newswires) Allergan (AGN) – The pharmaceutical co.’s new drug application for ulipristal acetate has been extended to August by the FDA. (Newswires) Anadarko (APC) – The energy co. expects to complete several deals for its Mozambique LNG in 2018. (Newswires) Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) – The co. is to acquire a 50% stake in Aston Foods and Food Ingredients, who are based in Russia. (Newswires) Bank of New York Mellon (BK) – The co. plans to start an office in Saudi Arabia in Q2 as it looks for opportunities to service Saudi Arabia’s assets. (Newswires) Crown Castle (CCI) – Co. has filed to sell 7.77mln shares of common stock. (Newswires) CSX (CSX) – The co. is to offer a longer-term plan following the death of former CEO Harrison, it will outline its plans to target a 60% operating ratio by 2020. (Newswires) Gun Names (AOBC / RGR) – US President Donald Trump tweeted that ‘Gun free zones are proven targets of killers. After many years, a Bill should emerge’ and he also said to respect the 2nd amendment. (Twitter) Harley Davidson (HOG) – The bike manufacturer has invested into Alta Motors for an electric motorcycle collaboration. (Newswires) Humana (HUM) – Co. is to reaffirm guidance of USD 13.16-13.66 in diluted EPS or about USD 13.50-14.00 in Adj. EPS for FY18 vs. Exp. USD 13.86. (Newswires) LabCorp (LH) – Co.’s Covance unit has entered into a strategic technology agreement with GlaxoSmithKline. (Newswires) Newell Brands (NWL) – Activist investor Carl Icahn is building an equity position in the co. (NY Post) Nordstrom (JWN) – The Nordstrom family is reportedly struggling to find finances to take the co. private. (NY Post) Steel Names (X, AKS) – US President Donald Trump tweeted that the Steel and Aluminium industries have been decimated by decades of unfair trade and bad policy, and says we want a free, fair and smart trade. (Newswires) Target (TGT) – The co. announced a limited-edition spring collection with the UK’s Hunter. (Newswires) Casino Names (LVS, WYNN) – Macau casino revenue growth increased by 5.7% in February. (Newswires) Monsanto (MON) – Bayer said it is willing to sell more assets to gain approval from regulators for its planned USD 60bln takeover of the co. (WSJ) NASDAQ 100 Qualcomm (QCOM) / Broadcom (AVGO) -Qualcomm are encouraging shareholders to vote for the white proxy card to re-elect all 11 co. directors, however Broadcom are encouraging shareholders to vote for all 6 Broadcom nominees, it also states it remains ready to engage with Broadcom on price, closing certainty and licensing business talks but it does reiterate all board members agree the original offer is undervaluing the co. (Newswires) Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) – The co. announced the initiation of its Phase 3 study of Tezacafot and Ivacaftor for people with cystic fibrosis. (Newswires) Netflix (NFLX) – The streaming service announced a new European partnership with Sky (SKY LN), as it is now part of a SKY TV bundle package. (Newswires) OTHER NEWS 3D Systems (DDD) – Co. sees Q4 non-GAAP EPS USD 0.03-0.05 vs. Exp. USD 0.01. Sees Q4 revenue USD 176mln-178mln vs. Exp. USD 162.12mln. (Newswires) Churchill Downs (CHDN) – Co. has acquired two casinos for USD 229.5mln. (Newswires) Defence Names (LMT, RTN, NOC) – The Pentagon is pushing to make F-35 combat jet programmes cheaper. (WSJ) El Pollo Loco (LOCO) – Co. has appointed Bernard Acoca as CEO. (Newswires) Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) – The automaker is to look into a possible spinoff of its Magneti Marelli in Q2. (Newswires) GoDaddy (GDDY) – Co. has filed to sell 16.92mln shares of Class A common stock for holders. (Newswires) Novavax (NVAX) – Co.’s NanoFlu has demonstrated improved immune response in Phase 1/2 trial. (Newswires) Overstock (OSTK) – The co. disclosed it is being investigated by the SEC, it is asking for documents related to offering and tokens. (Newswires) Turquoise Hill (TRQ) – Co. says Oyu Tolgoi will lift force majeure effective March 1st. Co. expects any force majeure-related sales impact to be made up over the next few quarters. (Newswires) 3D Systems (DDD) – The co. is expecting to earn between USD 0.03-0.05/shr for Q4, better than consensus estimate of USD 0.01. The co. has delayed its Q4 earnings release as it is planning for new revenue recognition rules. (Newswires) Additional US Equity Stories Equifax (EFX) – Regarding the recent data breach, Equifax have said that 2.4mln drivers license information was stolen last year. (Newswires) Kohl’s (KSS) – The co. is to test bringing Aldi in to 5/10 stories in 2018, further the CEO said he is very optimistic about the partnership with Amazon (AMZN). (Newswires) Netflix (NFLX) – The streaming service forecasts roughly 700 original series in 2018. (Variety) (Newswires)
Health groups have blasted a bid by James Packer's Crown Limited to allow smoking across the entire gaming floor of its proposed Sydney casino, an area that could be as large as two and a half rugby league fields. Quit Victoria executive director Fiona Sharkie said the move was "extremely concerning" and accused Crown of "putting profit before the health of their staff and consumers". NSW Cancer Council manager of tobacco control Scot Walsberger said the organisation was "disappointed" in the NSW government's conditional approval of the proposal and said potential employees would have to choose "between a job at the casino and their health". Crown's proposal, conditionally accepted by NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell on Thursday, describes allowing smoking in the gaming area as "absolutely critical". The company has proposed a 24 hour-a-day gaming area of up to 20,000 square metres – about the size of the MCG playing surface and slightly bigger than that of the SCG. "It's such a backward step considering that we've had smokefree workplaces in this country across different states for probably two decades," Ms Sharkie said. "We don't think there should be exemptions for high-roller rooms – they're still exposing workers to enormous harms." In a letter to the NSW Government, released by Crown on Thursday, Mr Packer said: "In order to effectively compete with Macau, Singapore and the rest of Asia, Crown Sydney will need to permit smoking in VIP gaming areas." Crown's Sydney rival, The Star, enjoys a similar exemption from NSW laws in its high roller areas and Crown's Melbourne high-roller area, the Mahogany Room, is exempt from Victorian anti-smoking laws. Mr Packer said Crown had struck a deal with union United Voice "in relation to the issue of installing and maintaining state-of-the-art air quality technology". However, Ms Sharkie said there was "no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke". "The research shows you need a tornado-like suction to be of any benefit, so the risk of harm is very high – they don't work, these curtains or ventilation devices. A Crown spokesman said the company "takes the issue of staff occupational health and safety extremely seriously". "A surgical operating theatre requires at least 20 air exchanges an hour, Crown's investment in state of the art air filtration ensures we are in excess of 30 exchanges," he said. The entire Sydney gaming floor at Crown's proposed Sydney casino is to be a "VIP gaming area", with entry restricted to members and a minimum bet per hand of $20. However, Ms Sharkie said she was sceptical of moves to restrict access by the general public. "I don't think they would really be filled with extremely wealthy international gamblers because I don't think they're going to need 20,000 square metres," she said. "So I don't know how the casino is defining a VIP, but we are aware here [in Victoria] that it's pretty easy to get a VIP pass to Crown." 24/7 Crown proposes the gaming area will operate "24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year" with "no limit on the number of table games". Dealers are to operate traditional baccarat, blackjack and roulette tables but there are also to be "semi-automated table games and fully automated table games". Crown says it will offer some non-smoking gaming tables, "reflecting the preferences of some VIP gaming customers". Under a memorandum of understanding reached with union United Voice, air quality is to be tested every three months and the results reported to health and safety representatives. The test results are to be handed over to the government and an annual report tabled in NSW Parliament. Mr Walsberger called on the states to join together in a national ban on smoking in high-roller rooms. "The disappointment here is that we aren't even sticking with the status quo, we're offering a new, very large casino in a very large space to get this additional exemption." On Thursday, Crown's proposal advanced to stage three of the NSW government's approval process for "unsolicited proposals", which the government said "involves the finalisation of all outstanding issues with a view to entering into a binding agreement, if the government decides to accept the final offer". Fairfax Media has approached United Voice for comment. http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/business/casino-smoking-exemption-blasted-by-health-groups-20130708-2plbm.html#ixzz2YQ0JDRzX
What A Day: Our Ugly Dark Twisted Reality by Priyanka Aribindi, Brian Beutler & Crooked Media (10/11/18)
"I could say that I'm the most bullied person in the World." —Melania Trump. She’s not.
President Trump really wants to let Saudi Arabia off the hook for murdering the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who wrote for the Washington Post and lived legally in the United States, and the question is why. Khashoggi, who had been critical of the Saudi regime, and sought to set up a pro-democracy organization in Washington, entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey on October 2 and never emerged. Turkish officials say agents of the Saudi regime murdered him and sneaked his dismembered body out of the country. At an Oval Office press event Thursday, Trump essentially warned Congress—and signaled to Saudi leaders—that he will not sanction Saudi individuals for murdering Khashoggi under any circumstances, in order to protect $110 billion in U.S. arms sales to the Saudi kingdom. “If it turns out to be as bad as it might be, there are certainly other ways of handling the situation,” he said. “But I will tell you up front, right now, and I’ll say it in front of senators, they’re spending $110 billion purchasing military equipment and other things. If we don’t sell it to them, they’ll say ‘well thank you very much, we’ll buy it from Russia,’ or, ‘thank you very much, we’ll buy it from China.’” If Trump wanted the Saudis to come clean, the threat of sanctions would be a powerful tool, but the master dealmaker just gave up all of his leverage. Curious. On Wednesday, Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,sent a letter to President Trump, signed by nearly two dozen committee members and others, which triggers provisions of a law called the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. Under the terms of the law, the letter from Corker and Menendez requires the Trump administration to investigate Khashoggi’s disappearance, and, if he was murdered, formally determine within 120 days whether or not to sanction the individuals responsible. Trump’s reluctance to upset Saudi Arabia is particularly alarming in light of his actions since Khashoggi went missing, and reports about how his administration responded to threats against Khashoggi’s safety. For days, Trump pretended to know nothing about Khashoggi’s wellbeing. But as the Washington Post reported Wednesday, the U.S. intelligence community was fully aware that the Saudis intended to capture and possibly harm Khashoggi, and that intelligence “had been disseminated throughout the U.S. government…contained in reports that are routinely available to people working on U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia.” That almost undoubtedly includes Jared Kushner, who forged a close relationship with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, and likely Trump himself. If that intelligence said the Saudis were planning to kill him, then by law the U.S. government had a “duty to warn” Khasshogi about the danger he faced. The world is watching. Trump’s response to this horrific attack will either signal that there will be repercussions to cracking down on dissent, or that the U.S. will turn a blind eye. From Brian: Speculation about whether the Kushners and Trumps have personal financial interests in the U.S.-Saudi relationship has dogged the administration since Trump took office, and flew to Saudi Arabia for his first official trip abroad. The questions the potential conflicts of interest raise—about what Trump knew when, and why he’s reluctant to take action now—are almost too dark to fathom, but they require answers.
President Trump’s legal team is responding to written questions from Special Counsel Robert Mueller about the Trump campaign’s involvement in the Russian government’s subversion of the 2016 election. It’s about fucking time! Six people have died, and thousands of homes and businesses have been damaged or destroyed, since Hurricane Michael made landfall yesterday. Now downgraded to a tropical storm, Michael is now moving through Georgia and towards the Carolinas, which already suffered through Hurricane Florence earlier this year. GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson just contributed tens of millions of additional dollars to Republican efforts to hold Congress, one day after ProPublica reported that Trump personally lobbied Shinzo Abe to grant Adelson a license to open a casino in Japan. They don’t even try to hide the corruption. Don’t have millions of dollars to donate? You don’t have to! Sign up for a volunteer shift on Vote Save America. Text people reminders to vote instead of scrolling aimlessly through Instagram. Everything counts → votesaveamerica.com/takeaction Facebook is purging 559 pages and 251 accounts that are hyper-partisan and have posted spammy political content. The company says that it didn’t consider partisan leanings in the purge, only the methods by which the pages and accounts spread content, though more right-leaning pages were ultimately removed than left-leaning ones. Senate Democrats accepted an offer from Republicans to confirm 15 Trump judicial nominees to life terms in exchange for putting the Senate into recess, allowing vulnerable senators to campaign in their home states ahead of the midterm elections. From Brian: Good to see Democrats take the long view of things. Today, Washington state became the 20th to abolish the death penalty, after the state’s Supreme Court ruled that it’s applied unevenly, and converted the death sentences of eight men on death row to life sentences. Things may be all good between President Trump and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, but the president is reportedly considering five candidates to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions, assuming that he will leave the Justice Department by the end of this year. One candidate, Sessions’ own chief of staff, was publicly critical of Robert Mueller before he joined the administration. Stocks plummeted for the second day in a row. Ryan Coogler officially signed on to write and direct Black Panther 2. You wanted good news, here’s good news. You’re welcome.
Look No Further than the Crooked Media
On Hysteria: Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) joins Erin Ryan to talk about her no vote on Brett Kavanaugh, and bond over being from the Midwest. Megan Gailey and Kiran Deol also join Erin to discuss several anti-choice initiatives that have made it onto state ballots, and where we go from here. Listen → On Crooked.com: Brian writes about how Democrats are finally growing wise to the true nature of the GOP and shouldn’t let bad-faith Republican complaints about liberal “mobs” trick them into unilaterally disarming again. Read →
Under the Radar
The Department of Justice has revealed that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross consulted with Steve Bannon about adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census in order to decrease representation in immigrant communities. Ross has testified to Congress that he was not aware of any discussions between himself or his team with White House officials or the president about adding the question. Lying to Congress is a crime.
Guess We Have To Talk About This Now
Kanye West visited the White House today for a meeting on prison reform and gang violence, before President Trump opened the meeting to the press and Kanye delivered a disjointed monologue which was actually quite sad to watch. Among other things, West noted that his female-dominated family, growing up without his father, and Hillary Clinton’s prominence left him feeling emasculated, and that he thinks Apple should make Trump a hydrogen-powered "iPlane 1.” He also spoke about being misdiagnosed as bipolar, and suffering from sleep deprivation. For the first time in his life, Trump felt like America feels when Trump rants incoherently about nonsense. He watched Kanye in near total silence, but he never tried to bring the press event to a close. That’s because Trump doesn’t care about Kanye West beyond his usefulness as someone with a large following who’ll praise Trump in public. It’s okay with him if a fallen cultural icon has a meltdown in the Oval Office, so long as he’s wearing a MAGA hat.
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Is That Hope I Feel?
Prolific activist Ady Barkan was diagnosed with ALS—a terminal disease that has been destroying his body—three weeks before Donald Trump was elected in 2016. He had been a progressive activist before his diagnosis, and in the time since, has continued fight back and organize others to do the same. In the Nation he writes about the importance of not simply voting, but why we also need to become organizers. “Activism is precisely about not accepting the tragedies of this world, but rather on insisting that we can reduce pain and prolong life... This moment calls on us all to become organizers. To be heroes for our communities and future generations. To talk to our less political friends, neighbors, classmates, and co-workers, and to enlist them in this experiment we call American democracy. This is our Congress, our country, and our future for the making.” Take Ady’s advice. Don't just vote → votesaveamerica.com/takeaction Read →
"The Audition" starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and Brad Pitt. Directed by Martin Scorsese
Here's a short film Martin Scorsese directed called "The Audition" which stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and Brad Pitt which functions as a promotional film for Melco-Crown's movie-themed resort and casino in Macau. I hear this cost $70 million to make and all the leads got paid $13 million each for it. So in essence you're watching probably the most expensive promotional film for a resort/casino ever. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vw4Okq5J1Oc&ytbChannel=ZP%20Movies
SG casinos should develop asia’s premier poker rooms
MBS doesn’t have any live poker games. RWS only has a few tables starting at $5/$10 blinds and a ridiculous rake up to $50/hand. The only other options are in Macau or Crown Melbourne which also have really high blinds and/or a ridiculous rake. With casino competition growing immensely in the region, why not develop asia’s premier poker room? Something like Aria/Bellagio in Vegas or Foxwoods in Connecticut? The usual argument is that poker tables take up space and manpower away from more profitable games. But investing in a poker room will create a clear differentiated product from other asian casinos. Plus, you’ll get a huge influx of poker players and their friends who will inevitably play other casino games. Just a thought since there’s a big poker culture in asia but no “go-to” poker room.
The Asian gambling industry sent mixed signals in 2014, with the Macau casinos posting remarkable data while the Korean counterparts are still struggling. This is basically a continuation of a trend that started a couple of years ago and third parties are trying to find a place in this niche. Online poker companies are also trying to establish a foothold here, with PokerStars being not only the most active but also the most successful online operator. It is running weekly tournaments and cash games at its headquarters in Macau, with City of Dreams being the gracious host. They have virtually no competition online, but in the dynamic land-based casino industry, there are a couple of big players that one needs to outshine. With the new regulations freezing all casino permits in Macau for almost a decade, it came as no surprise that major operators try to open casino resorts elsewhere. Melco Crown Entertainment has its sights locked on the Philippines where it plans on opening a venue that will go by the name of City of Dreams Manila resort casino. It will have all the popular features that players can enjoy in Macau on an even greater scale, but apparently the project will be more expensive than initially thought. Group representatives announced that the budget will be supplemented by another $800 million, which represents an increase of more than 20%. This is not the first time that City of Dreams Manila requires more funds than originally estimated, with the last increase consisting of a 10% spike. Melco Crown Entertainment has no doubts about its ability to raise the necessary amount and it relies on the Philippines unit. It fares well at the moment and with money being plentiful, there is no reason to believe that the project will be brought to a screeching halt. Meanwhile, in Korea an ambitious project could be delayed or even stop, as Genting Singapore told the media that they are postponing the building of the resource casino. Financial factors represent only half of the problem, because casino officials told the media that they are also waiting on local politicians to agree with their casino development plans. The plans for World Jeju resort is still on the table and the company is confident that by 2017, the brand-new casino we welcome its first customers in South Korea. from via Casinoreviews
Glamorous casino to be built at City of Dreams Manila
There is a City of Dreams in Macau and ever since it was created, this gambling hub kept growing and now attracts a record number of people every year. Most of the games played here are regular casino games such as roulette, baccarat, video poker, blackjack and of course, slots. Poker operators were equally interested in establishing a more permanent position here and PokerStars makes no exception. The company operates almost exclusively online, but more recently they decided to get some boots on the ground and get involved in other ways too. As a result, they run occasional tournaments in Macau and City of Dreams was naturally chosen as the venue to host these events. 2013 was the first year that Macau revenue exceeded the money made in Las Vegas and there are no reasons to expect anything to change in the upcoming years. This is why prominent entertainment companies have decided to invest massively in existing venues, while opening new ones in different places. Asia remains the continent of choice and the best proof is that City of Dreams Manila is poised to grow a lot in the upcoming months. Melco Crown Entertainment is one of the investors willing to spend a lot of money here and if their plan comes to fruition, the new attraction will surpass everything existing in the capital city of the Philippines. In order to maximize their chances to succeed, the investors shook hands with DreamWorks Animation SKG and the project goes by the name of DreamPlay. Obviously, the location of this venue suggests that gambling remains their top priority and this is the source of revenue that is expected to help these guys enjoy some nice return on investment. On the other hand, the project has very ambitious goals and plans on providing educational and entertainment on par with Disneyland. The partnership between Melco Crown Philippines and DreamWorks is expected to produce results as early as late 2014. Both parties involved are highly optimistic about the success of DreamPlay and hope to tap into the immense potential of the Philippines market. For the time being, there are no plans for online poker companies such as PokerStars to become more involved in City of Dreams Manila. The fact that they were very successful in running the tournaments in Macau makes it less far-fetched to attempt to host a similar event in Manila. With DreamWorks working together with Melco Crown on this joint venture, it is only fair to assume that City of Dreams Manila will gain even more popularity. from via Casinoreviews
Over the last couple of years, we got used to hear about how prosperous the gambling industry Macau is, with quarterly results setting new records. The Asian gambling hub remains very lucrative and it is only fair to assume that the highrollers will keep flocking to these locations. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning the fact that for the first time in almost a decade, the year to year gross gambling revenue has declined. The numbers are not shocking, but even the slightest dip can send shockwaves. This doesn't mean that Macau will disappear altogether or that Las Vegas will reclaim the crown, because these numbers were more or less anticipated by specialists. To start with, the casinos posted significant gross gambling revenue and the numbers suggest that the slide represents no more than 4%. In a nutshell, the industry is still doing very well and money is pouring to the operators' coffers, leaving plenty of room for many years of profit. Those who expected the gambling revenue to improve on a yearly basis indefinitely are in for a rude awakening, but they represent a minority. One of the biggest reasons for why the numbers were somehow disappointing this June has to do with the fact that the World Cup is underway. Speaking of which, the tournament will only come to an end in July, which means that it is very likely for this month to fail to meet expectations once again. Compared to 2013 when there was no major football tournament in Brazil or anywhere else this time of the year, 2014 poses a unique challenge. The Chinese gamblers and those who have a lot of money in particular were attracted by the glamorous event and took a lengthy break. They will eventually return to the tables but this is most likely to happen in autumn, so June and July will probably be the worst months this year. Another possible explanation for the decline has to do with the continued crackdown on corruption. The gambling environment needs to be absolutely secure, for players to have confidence in the system and any rumors can have a detrimental effect. The same happens to online casinos and that's why these companies are overly concerned about preserving a flawless image. Cosmik Casino has done a great job at consolidating reputation over the Internet, by running honest promotions and being audited regularly. from via Casinoreviews
Studio City Casino set to open next month in Macau
Whenever a new casino opens its doors in Macau, local players and highrollers from all over the world pay attention. There is always the possibility of winning a lot of money over a short period of time, but only if you are among those who show up early. The same goes over the Internet, where new operators are particularly generous and try to lure players in by offering first deposit bonuses and freebies. When Cosmik Casino started its operation over the Internet, it showered players with a nice selection of bonuses and loyalty campaigns. Much to their credit, all of them are still in place and the bonuses have grown, while the wagering requirements are more reasonable than ever. Land-based casinos, can't afford the luxury of offering freebies to new players, but the best ones have the means to make the opening ceremony memorable. Melco Crown Entertainment's Studio City Casino is going to be the new kid on the block and it looks like it could open its doors in October. In order to make sure that prospective players are enthusiastic about the casino, the owners enlisted Ratpac Entertainment to help them with advertising. The campaign promises to be impressive, because among those that will be working on a short video to promote the new casino are Martin Scorsese and famous actors, such as, Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt. At a first glance it might look like the casino owners are going over the top, but the competition is intense in this part of the world and operators need to stand out from the crowd. It is not yet certain when the new casino will welcome players and even the release date of the short movie is questionable. The only certainty is that the script will be written by Terence Winter, the mastermind behind the Boardwalk Empire TV series and the award-winning movie Wolf of Wall Street. The rumor say that the move will make its premiere next year, with January being the most likely month. Ratpac Entertainment is working closely with some of the best actors and directors from Hollywood, which explains why they had such an easy task at convincing the stars to participate. Among those who receive their support are Russell Crowe and they are currently working with Brad Pitt on another project. from via Casinoreviews
New casino to open gates in Brisbane’s Queen Wharf
It's been a while since local authorities started to contemplate the opportunity of allowing a gambling company to erect a casino in Brisbane Queen Wharf. The area could definitely use a massive influx of capital and for many years, there were no investors willing to spend a dime here. On the other hand, local anti-gambling groups are very active and they claim that if a license is granted, the local economy will take a dive rather than surge to new heights. For the time being, the authorities seem to be willing to take a leap of faith and the company that is in pole position right now goes by the name of Crown Resorts. James Packer's company in conjunction with Greenland Holding Group which is based in China made a convincing bid for a casino resort here. The investment is significant and developers plan on building a retail and commercial center, therefore completely changing the aspect of this residential area. Echo Entertainment Group is the other big player willing to invest here and just as the aforementioned company did, they formed a partnership with Chinese ventures. The two casino operators from Australia are well-positioned and both of them seem willing to go to great lengths to establish a permanent position in Brisbane's Queen Wharf. The authorities will analyze both offers and are expected to reach a definitive conclusion by the end of summer. East Asia is another part of the world where gambling companies are willing to spend a lot of money, following the dazzling success of Macau casinos. With licenses being limited in these special administrative region of the People's Republic of China, investors had to look elsewhere for opportunities. South Korea is a great alternative and 20th Century Fox could join existing ventures as the company plans on investing $3.5 billion to complete a massive project by the end of 2018. South Korea residents are prohibited from playing in local casinos, which are frequented by highrollers from China and Japan, and other Asian countries. 20th Century Fox intends to build a huge casino resort featuring a movie theater and numerous dining areas as well as a golf course. Interesting enough, major gambling companies don't have the same interest in investing within borders, with very few of them even considering Atlantic City casinos. On the other hand, foreign operators such as Betfair Casino announced their intention of expanding their presence in the United States, starting with these struggling casinos. from via Casinoreviews
Key dates announced for Season 9 of the Asia-Pacific Poker Tour
The Asia-Pacific Poker Tour is underway and a couple of tournaments have already concluded, with the first winners being nominated. The ones who emerged victorious in these competitions took home the coveted bracelets and also a lot of money. Their victory acts as an incentive for fellow poker players and it is unlikely that they will let distance have a deterring effect on their plans in 2015. In order to attract more players to the APPT, the organizers have announced that some of the key dates for the upcoming season are now made public. By revealing the complete schedule for Season nine, the guys behind these fast rising tournament expect to have more poker professionals at the tables. As always, when big names announce their intentions of participating in flagship tournaments the number of rookies who attend is also rising. What we know is that the Season 9 of the Asia-Pacific Poker Tour will start on January 14, 2015, with the highly anticipated Aussie Millions Poker Championship from Crown Casino in Melbourne, Australia. This is just the first stop and eight more will follow, with the grand final being held at the PokerStars LIVE Macau, where the Asia Championship of Poker will bring together the best players. The Aussie Millions is the tournament that will kickstart 2015 and there are a total of 21 events for players to choose from. The highlight of the series is of course the Aussie Millions Main Event and once again the organizers decided to team up with PokerStars.net APPT. This will guarantee better exposure and it is expected that the vast majority of Team Pro members will participate. It goes without saying that the prize pool will also increase to new highs and the winner is expected to take home in excess of AU$1.6 million. To get a better idea about what is awaiting poker players in 2015, check out the key dates for season nine below: Jan. 14-Feb. 2 Aussie Millions Poker ChampionshipFeb. 5-15 ANZPT PerthFeb. 27-March 15 Macau Poker Cup 22March 11-23 ANZPT SydneyApril 7-12 APPT SeoulMay 13-24 APPT MacauJuly 31-Aug. 9 APPT ManilaAug. 28-Sept. 13 Macau Poker Cup 23Oct. 8-20 ANZPT MelbourneOct. 30-Nov. 15 Asia Championship of Poker from via Casinoreviews
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