Ask anyone who is over 30 what’s the most famous Lunar New Year line aside from “Kung Hei Fat Choy!” and chances are they’d say:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, here comes the God of Gamblers!”
That’s right, whether we’re talking about Hollywood superstar Chow Yun-fat or comedy king Stephen Chow Sing-chi or debonair actor Andy Lau Tak-wah (who has been sidelined by injuries from a horse-riding accident), all made their names in gambling movies in the late ’80s, movies that became box-office hits when first shown over the Lunar New Year.
It’s probably because gambling is in the DNA of most Chinese, especially in this festive season when we dream of hitting the jackpot or breaking the casino with our winnings.
If there’s ever a time when our level of luck is at its highest, it should be none other than in this Year of the Rooster.
In what could be a preview of what’s in store for gamblers in the coming year, a mystery lady is said to have had an enormous winning streak at the Parisian, Sand China’s latest casino in Macau, that is already affecting the company’s bottom line.
Las Vegas Sands president Rob Goldstein even mentioned her in a recent investor teleconference. “She wins every day and she is doing very well,” Goldstein said. “And she has affected the numbers.”
In fact, no less than chairman Sheldon Adelson, who had bet big on Donald Trump in the recent US presidential election and won, said the lady’s winnings at the Parisian had impacted the group EBITDA by about US$15-20 million.
Rumors have it that the lady was so hot she would bet as much as HK$3 million on a baccarat hand or even put bets on two tables at the same time.
She was so hot that some dealers were beginning to suspect that she was “counting cards”. She was so hot that casino operators are now thinking of declaring her an unwelcome guest.
Of course, it’s highly possible that the casino bosses’ loud complaints could just be their way of luring more customers to their mass tables, and to Macau in general.
We are not even sure if the lady exists because we haven’t seen her in person and the casino operators haven’t produced a photo of her.
Whether true or not, the tale of the mystery lady gambler is a clever marketing gimmick, indeed.
We remember former legislator and stockbroker Chim Pui-chung winning HK$2 million in his first hour of gambling at Wynn Resorts when it opened in Macau in 2006.
The story made headlines in local newspapers, providing massive promotion for the new casino.
It seems the same trick is being played again, and some movie outfit is probably working on the script of a new movie about a new goddess of gambling.
As we’ve said, gambling, just like stock punting, is a favorite Chinese pastime.
So watch out for more jackpots – and fun – in the Year of the Rooster.
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