Macau skyline is dominated by casinos and casinos. This is because the major revenue of Macau do come from gambling. Competition between the casinos can be very fierce and many will look towards providing top notch services to their VIP customers.
Much was talk about casino and gambling in Macau. But have you ever wonder what it is like to gamble in Macau the VIP style?
At the high stakes table, the minimum bet can easily reach ten times the normal betting. VIP customers are expected to bet hundreds of thousands of dollars.
As Macau evolve, casinos has a unique method of bringing VIP to its table. Asia Entertainment & Resources, a tour operators, for example, had created ‘junkets’ exclusively for the VIP customers. Junkets will provide everything that the VIP need. Services include high end accommodation, luxury transportation, entertainment, credit line for gambling and more. In return, the junket will be rewarded with commission for the VIP for providing all the luxury services.
The growth of the VIP gaming center is not only limited to Macau. However, in second half of 2014, Cambodia also recorded 32 percent growth in VIP gambling revenue. Philippines where the new City of Dream complex which opened recently recorded 92 percent jump at the same period. To qualify as a VIP, customer are expected to wager $1 million on their single visit.
China Anti-corruption Campaign
However, Macau VIP gambling industry is currently facing headwinds and under heavy pressure after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign which directed to attack the flight of unlawful capital in the country.
Macau gambling revenue is seven times that of Las Vegas Strip. However, revenue fell by 49 percent to $2.4 billion in February 2015. Comparing with same month of the previous year, it rise by 40% to $4.8 billion.
After the downturn in Macau gaming industry recently, many of the VIP gamblers started to frequent other casinos located in other Asian countries. Asian casino from South Korea to Australia are drawing in the Chinese gambler as well.
New Location For Gambler
Mandarin speaking staff are being hired in South Korea. VIP treatment being offered there includes free flights, limousines and luxury stay for their big spending customers. NagaCorp Ltd. In Cambodia and Echo Entertainment Group Ltd. Of Sydney became the new location for junket operators to organize trips for Chinese gamblers with perks such as higher commissions, lower taxes and private jets.
Vice chairman of Paradise, Lee Hyuk-Byung mentioned that, “Premium mass players are recognized as VIP players and were treated better than in Macau.” “Attractions in Korea such as fashion, culture and food are irresistible to our customers.”
Aaron Fischer, a Hong Kong-based analyst at CLSA Ltd state that, “The anti-corruption measures are discouraging some people from travelling to Macau and as a result we will notice that a slight shift in travel from Macau to other destinations”. “Philippines and Vietnam” will likely benefits as they are the closest while Korea will pick up people from the northern parts of China.”
Paradise’s casinos is another casino providing VIP services to their high rolling customers. The celebrity obsessed country is able to draw Chinese gambler. Apart from that, they will also recommend top Korea plastic surgeons to their VIP customers as well.
“For customers who exchange 300,000 yuan ($48,000) worth of chips will be entitled to receive free flights to Jeju, tours with a Mandarin-speaking guide and companionship of a third-tier Korean model or actress”, accoridiing to an e-mail broucher from Shanghai based tour operator CNS. A CNS travel agent who named “Xiao Qi” confirmed the services when contacted through phone.
China prohibit any advertisement of casino operation. Therefore, many of the high-stakes customers are recommended by existing customers. “Junket operators own night clubs, restaurant, sponsors golf tournaments and other getaways,” said Grant Govertsen, an analyst at Union gaming Group in Macau. However, foreign effort to attract China gambler have caught the attention of local authorities. As a result, crackdown on representative offices that attract and recruit Chinese citizen has also begun.
Competition for Chinese customers has led to more than 100 unlicensed junket operators with thousands of agents in the island, said Seo Won-Seok, a hotel and tourism professor at Kyunghee University in Seoul. “With the growing importance of the Chinese gambler, a better regulation is needed to regulate the growth of the junket operators that bring them, he said.