赌百家乐还是存银行? / Baccarat or Bank Deposits?

赌百家乐还是存银行……赌场比银行赚得多?!

《南华早报》最近在经济版头版刊登了一则报道,称澳门33家赌场意外迎来业务井喷,形势喜人。

Baccarat or Bank Deposits… Casinos Outperforming Banks?!

A recent front page report in the business section of the “South China Morning Post” describes the incredibly booming business conditions which Macau’s 33 casinos are enjoying.

上世纪70年代的澳门:一个宁静的沉睡天堂 / Macau in the 1970s: a quiet, sleepy haven

这篇报道发表于11月2日,题目为《大陆银行存款负利率推动博彩收入激增》。文章在导语中称:“到百家乐赌桌上试试手气似乎比大陆银行的存款负利率更诱人,出手大方的赌客上月刷新了澳门赌场的收入记录。”

百家乐与银行存款的相对回报率息息相关,如此断言不知是证据确凿还是作者的臆断。从表面上看,将百家乐和银行存款两相比较似乎不太靠谱儿——好像是赌场营销高手或是呼吁赌博合法化的赌徒才会想出来的招数。

文章继续说,由于十月恰逢中国的“黄金周”假期,大批大陆游客纷纷涌入,催生赌场收入环比增长23%,与2009年同比增长50%。

澳门特别行政区是个弹丸之地,面积仅为18平方英里,但那里2007年的博彩收入却超过了拉斯维加斯。澳门共有赌场33家(2002年仅为11家),常住人口54.2万人,经济以旅游业和博彩业为主。这一点仅凭2009年入境游客总数达到2,170万人即可证明,相当于每个澳门人每年要接待40名游客。访澳游客在赌桌上挥霍掉的金钱也令人瞠目:2008年达到137.3亿美元。2010年全年(包括实际发生数及未来预测数在内)的赌金将一如预期的那样,突破历史记录。

澳门共有赌台4,770张,各种赌博花样应有尽有,还有14,363台老虎机。无论白天黑夜,只要你路过赌场,就会看见里面大多人满为患,而且现在大都还是大陆游客。

从1962年到2002年,澳门的博彩业还被何鸿燊旗下的澳门博彩控股有限公司所垄断。而到了2002年,垄断局面被打破,增发了赌场牌照,澳门博采业旋即进入突飞猛进的新时代。在失去长达40年的垄断地位之后,澳门博彩控股有限公司赚得盆满钵满,11月1日的股价比去年上涨了177%。

百家乐是澳门赌场最赚钱的赌博游戏,而其中大部分收入则来源于VIP百家乐,而不是普通百家乐。也就是说极少数赌客在豪赌VIP百家乐。

尽管赌城拉斯维加斯以1,900万人口和131平方英里的面积让澳门相形见绌,但如果按赌资比较,澳门这个葡萄牙的前殖民地却一点儿也不逊色。

澳门于1999年成为中国的特别行政区,结束了作为欧洲在华第一块也是最后一块殖民地的历史。此次金融危机前和危机过程中,曾有反对者预测澳门将出现酒店客房和赌场供给严重过剩的情况,但如今事实已证明他们的推测是错误的。

澳门居民一方面从蓬勃发展的旅游业和博彩业中获益,但另一方面却在抱怨城市过于拥挤,交通堵塞,失去了往日宁静优雅的城市氛围。近20万辆客货用车奔跑在总长仅为250英里的道路上,肯定会出现交通瘫痪——如果这些车同时上路,每英里的路上将会有800辆车,情况可想而知。

The opening line of the November 2nd article, “Casino Revenues Soar as Mainland Bank Deposit Rates Turn Negative” goes like this: “Baccarat tables appear to be offering a more attractive bet than the mainland’s negative bank deposit rates, as high-rolling gamblers pushed Macau’s casino revenues to a fresh record last month.”

It’s not clear whether this alleged link between the relative returns on Baccarat versus bank deposits is based on hard evidence, or just the reporter’s imagination. On the surface, comparing baccarat to bank deposits seems pretty wild — the kind of stuff you might expect from a clever casino marketer, or the rationalizing of a gambling addict.

The article goes on to report that due to the huge influx of mainland visitors during October, surrounding China’s “Golden Week” holiday, casino revenues surged 23% over the previous month and nearly 50% higher than October, 2009 levels.

Tiny Macau S.A.R., a mere 18 square miles in size, surpassed Las Vegas in gambling revenues in 2007. It has 33 casinos (up from just 11 in 2002) and a resident population of 542,000. Macau’s main businesses are tourism and gaming, as amply illustrated by the number of visitor arrivals in 2009: 21.7 million. That’s about 40 visitors per year for every local resident. The visitors spend a staggering amount on the gaming tables: US$13.73 billion in 2008. Actual plus forecast gambling volumes for 2010 are on track to break all records.

Macau has 4,770 gaming tables offering a varied array of gambling options, plus 14,363 slot machines. A walk through most of the casinos at any time of night or day sees them thronged with people, with mainlanders the most numerous by far.

From 1962 to 2002 gambling in Macau was administered as a monopoly granted to Stanley Ho’s organization, SJM Holdings. Beginning in 2002, the monopoly was ended, new licenses were issued, and an era of spectacular growth began. SJM has profited handsomely since they lost their 40-year old monopoly status. Their stock price is up 177% on the year to November 1.

The game of Baccarat earns far and away the highest share of revenues for the Macau casinos, and within that, the lion’s share is from VIP Baccarat rather than ordinary Baccarat. So a small percentage of gamblers are spending a huge percentage of the money, mostly concentrated in VIP Baccarat.

Metropolitan Las Vegas dwarfs Macau with its 1.9 million people and its sprawling 131 square mile footprint. But there’s no dwarfing the former Portuguese colony when it comes to money spent on gambling.

Macau became a Special Administrative Region of China in 1999, ending its stint as the first and last European colony in China. Naysayers who predicted a serious oversupply of hotel rooms and new casinos before and during the recent financial crisis, have been proven wrong so far.

Macau residents, while benefiting from the robust growth in tourism and gaming, also complain about overcrowding, traffic, and the disappearance of the former quiet, charming atmosphere of the place. With nearly 200,000 vehicles transporting people and goods on just 250 miles of road, you have a recipe for gridlock — some 800 vehicles per mile of road if all were to take to the streets at once.

澳门古巷正逐渐消失 / Macau’s Quaint Corners Are Getting Scarce

但骰子仍旧转个不停……

同时,这篇《南华早报》文章提出的理论也很新奇,大意是说现在中国一年期的存款利率为2.5%,低于本年度(截止到9月份)3.6%的通胀率,因此大陆的实际银行存款利率为负1.1%。

文章接下来说,赌场数据显示,百家乐游戏的赢率为VIP筹码下注总量的2.85%。作为对大赌客的奖励之一,无论输赢,赌场都会返还一定的赌金。假定返还比例为1%,大赌客的赔率就会下降到1.85%,比大陆银行现行的存款利率也差不了多少。

更不用说大赌客还可以获得免费饮料、点心、酒店客房及VIP待遇,这些在银行可都是没有的。

我不赌钱,也许是因为理解不了这种“豪赌致富”的理论。比起赌场诱人的赢钱数据,我更关心的是可能输得只剩下一条裤子、1%的返款、一把客房钥匙、还有几块变了味的点心。

我想大赌客和小赌客应该能互相理解,但我这个门外汉却不明就里。我想知道那儿有没有培养大赌客的学校?也许我该去上上课。

还有,我觉得下次去银行的时候,我自己带上些点心和矿泉水就行了。

But the dice roll on…

Meanwhile, the theory posed by the SCMP article is a novel one, and it goes something like this. Benchmark one-year deposit rates in China are currently set at 2.5%, which lags behind year-to-date inflation (through September this year) of 3.6%, so real interest rates on mainland bank deposits is a negative 1.1%.

The article goes on to say that a casino’s statistical advantage on the game of Baccarat suggests it should win 2.85% of all VIP chips wagered. As one of various incentives to high-rollers, casinos offer a rebate to them whether they win or lose. In the case of a 1% rebate, the high-roller’s expected loss rate then falls to 1.85%, which doesn’t compare too unfavorably with current mainland bank deposit rates.

Not to mention the fact that as a high-roller, you get free drinks, snacks, a nice hotel room, and VIP treatment, most of which is unavailable in your local bank branch.

I’m not a gambler, which is perhaps why I find this particular line of high-roller investment logic somewhat perplexing. I’d be less focused on the casino’s statistical advantage and more preoccupied with the probability of me losing my shirt, ending up with only my 1% rebate, the room key, and some stale snacks.

I guess high-rollers and low-rollers can probably understand each other’s gambling logic. As a no-roller myself, I just don’t get it. I wonder if there’s a high-roller training school out there somewhere? Maybe that’s what I would need to make it in roller-ville.

Meanwhile, I think I’d rather just bring some snacks and a bottle of mineral water with me next time I go to the bank.


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