Future of gaming ‘bright’ in Macau

Geoff Freeman

Although Macau’s competitors are increasing their presence in the Asian gambling sector, the president of the American Gaming Association noted this week that the region has nothing to fear as it is currently the most attractive destination for both the premium mass and the mass market.

Geoff Freeman,  speaking on the sidelines of the Global Gaming Expo Asia (G2E Asia) conference, stressed to the Times that the region’s integrated resorts have offerings that meet the demands of all visitors.

Commenting on the latest integrated resorts, the gaming expert said that gaming operators are growing the market instead of siphoning existing customers from their fellow competitors.

“What’s great to see is that The Parisian, Wynn Palace, Studio City and others are growing the market,” he told the Times.  “We don’t just have buildings here in Macau, we have destinations.”

The expert advised however, the region to constantly reinvent its offers and provide flexible jurisdiction for the industry.

“But the key is nobody can rest on their laurels. You have to constantly develop, innovate, reinvest, you have public policies that encourage flexibility. That’s what’s important,” Freeman suggested.

Meanwhile, the expert cited his belief that there is great confidence in the future of Macau, arguing that there is no “magical target number” that will bring Macau success as it is currently successful.

As Macau has posted its ninth consecutive month of year-on-
year growth in its gaming receipts, factors that have contributed to the growth are its provision of seamless access to the market, via either visa conditions or transportation infrastructure.

Freeman considered the under-construction Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, development of Hengqin Island and the family-friendly aspects of Cotai as “important steps in the right direction.”

“There’s nothing like this else in the world. Las Vegas is great, but Las Vegas is not Macau and vice versa. The experiment that is going on here is very compelling,” he said.

Questioned as to which gaming jurisdictions Macau should emulate to provide further flexibility to its investors, Freeman agued that Macau should look at the best of Asia’s gaming market and continually place itself uniquely in the market and set its new standards.

He stressed that there is no other market that is sitting right beside the massive population in China that shares an interest in gaming, adding that there is a rising middle class in China seeking travel destinations.

With the MSAR government promoting offerings that target the mass market, the expert argued that the territory’s diversification and the adjustments it has made to suit the market have helped to insulate the sector from future challengers, ensuring a “more positive future.”

“The scale of development here is something that you can’t find anywhere else in the world,” he noted.

Freeman added that Macau has come to a stage where its visitors are likely to come back due to its wide range of offerings, citing new properties that would soon be opened including MGM Cotai and the Lisboa Palace.

Asia Gaming Awards winners announced

Two local gaming operators were recognized in the Asia Gaming Awards 2017, which were held on Tuesday at The Parisian Macao. Galaxy Entertainment Group received the Best Gaming Operators award, and its two properties, Galaxy Macau and Galaxy Starworld, were awarded the Best Integrated Resort and Best Gaming Property award respectively. Wynn Palace secured the Best Gaming Area Design award. Each of the category winners on the night were selected through a voting process within the industry in addition to input from the judging panel and members of the organizing committee. The awards also crowned MGM China as the company with the most meaningful contribution in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Other awards conferred were a total of three “Emerging Leaders” – entrepreneurs, innovators and industry shakers seen as likely to shape the industry over the years to come. Nathan Carle, VP of Slot Operations of MGM China, Long Jiawei Jace, assistant casino manager at Marina Bay Sands and Rui Proença, Partner at MdME, received the “Emerging Leaders” award.

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