In case you've been wondering about Macau

You should, of course, start by reading my description of the casino economy as it was fully  opening up two years ago, here and here.

But on the remote chance that's not enough, it is surprisingly interesting to get the email updates from an operation called "Destination Macau." At first glance I thought it was just another local-booster site. But here is a representative passage from the latest newsletter:

"If a president of most companies we know were to stand up in public, after having recently posted a solid rise in quarterly earnings amid a bearish economic environment, and announce he is looking to cut nearly a quarter of his workforce, his audience might be forgiven a gasp of astonishment. Not when that president runs the Las Vegas Sands Corp.

"This week, the company's recently installed president, Mike Leven, announced in Las Vegas that he was going to cut another 3,000 to 4,000 jobs at the Macau subsidiary, taking the total workforce to around 13,000-14,000 from its current level of around 17,500, and down from a high that once scraped the 20,000 mark. This is despite the fact that the Venetian Macao posted a 10 per cent rise in first-quarter EBITDA and continues to hoover up the city's visitor market... Job cuts and the redrawing of organization charts seem to have become routine at Macau's most profitable gaming concessionaire as it struggles under the weight of a massive debt load.

"Needless to say, the Venetian Macao is not a happy camp for an expatriate to be in at the moment. Given that locals are protected by divine right to employment in an election year, every Filipino, Nepalese, Malaysian, Singaporean and, yes, American and Australian that walks the floors of LVS's Macau properties can be forgiven their long faces...

"A black joke doing the rounds yesterday was that all of these cuts could be made without having to go beneath the vice-president level."

For specialized tastes only, but engagingly done.