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» July 18, 2012
Don't Cross the Beams!
Mostly, the streams of my news feeds don't intersect much: multimedia programming, politics, poker. Not to much crossover between them. But this morning, two news stories were right next to each other. The first was about how gambling revenues have slowed in the Chinese city of Macau, which has been given a certain amount of creative license by the normally conservative Chinese government because it's been a money-maker.
When the junket business gets ugly in Macau, it can get gang war ugly. Last month, junket and casino operator Ng Man-sun was beaten by six men with sticks and hammers — at his own casino. Authorities are hoping it was an isolated incident and not the start of a gang war like those that plagued Macau in the 1990s.The very next story in my news feed was about Newt Gingrich backer Sheldon Adelson (who's since moved on to Mitt Romney). Adelson's a major foreign investor in—among other places—Macau:
Where competitors saw obstacles, including Macau's hostility to outsiders and historic links to Chinese organized crime, Adelson envisaged a chance to make billions.Now, if only the next story is about some new touchscreen technology in Macau casinos, I'll have hit the trifecta.
Adelson pushed his chips to the center of the table, keeping his nerve even as his company teetered on the brink of bankruptcy in late 2008.
The Macau bet paid off, propelling Adelson into the ranks of the mega-rich and underwriting his role as the largest Republican donor in the 2012 campaign, providing tens of millions of dollars to Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and other GOP causes.
Now, some of the methods Adelson used in Macau to save his company and help build a personal fortune estimated at $25 billion have come under expanding scrutiny by federal and Nevada investigators, according to people familiar with both inquiries.