There’s a good chance that Hong Kong’s casino boats won’t steal away a good chunk of Macau’s gamblers, but that doesn’t mean these moving sites of leisure and entertainment can’t make their own money at the latter’s expense.
Rising hotel costs and the growing number of gamblers flocking Macau have prompted a lot of people to make an alternative trip and opt for one of the cheaper overnight casino boats that leave Hong Kong every night for international waters before opening up their gambling tables.
The financial numbers back up the growing popularity of these casino boats, which saw its visitor total rise 9 percent in the first half of the ear to 615,328 people. Some casino ships have even seen their profits double in the same time, including Success Universe (one of the operators of these casino boats), which reported earning HK$2.15 million ($277,000) in the first half of this year.
The six casino operators in Macau aren’t really sweating the “competition” because in their eyes, these casino boats really aren’t competing against them, but offering an alternative for customers who are adding to the increasing demand for gambling in the area.
“The cruise ship can be a good substitute for mainland tourists,” Hoffman Ma, deputy chairman of Success Universe, told Bloomberg.
Hotels in Macau already operate under full capacity for most of the year and until new projects begin opening their doors, tourist demand will continue to outpace the current supply the Chinese gambling destination can offer.
Having these casino boats around not only offers customers a cheap alternative, but it also, at least modestly, alleviates the pressure of Macau welcoming in more tourists.
At least CEO of the six casino operators isn’t concerned about these casino boats.
“Their impact is minimal, Ambrose So, chief executive officer SJM Holdings (880) Ltd., told Bloomberg earlier this month.
“The pie is growing bigger and some money overflows there.”