CASINO

Gold Moon latest junket to close Macau VIP room, turn to regional markets

TAGs: gold moon group, junket operators, Macau

gold-moon-macau-vip-room-closedCasino junket operator Gold Moon Group is closing one of its VIP gaming rooms in Macau in order to focus on other regional markets. After nearly three years in operation, Gold Moon’s VIP room at Sands China’s Sands Cotai Central is closing, leaving the company with four remaining rooms in Macau.

Gold Moon director Chiu Siu Fung said there would be no staff redundancies as a result of the closure. Affected staff will be offered work at Gold Moon’s remaining 70 tables located at the Wynn Macau (12 tables), Galaxy Macau (14), Melco Crown’s Altira (35) and Macau Legend Development’s Pharaoh’s Palace Casino (9) at the Landmark Hotel, which operates under a SJM Holdings license.

Speaking to GGRAsia, Chiu acknowledged that the room at Sands Cotai Central “has not been doing really well” but insisted Gold Moon remained “stable” and focused on a number of expansion plans. Aside from gaming, the company operates a Hong Kong-based food souvenir business as well as restaurants – and soon a travel agency – in Macau.

Gold Moon is determined to boost its presence in markets outside Macau. Chiu says the firm has been luring clients to markets like Australia, Vietnam and the Philippines for “about a year” and expects business will ultimately be generated “half-and-half” between Macau and international markets. But Macau will “absolutely remain as our major market.”

The David Group junket is also putting increased emphasis on international markets. Last weekend, the operator announced it would close three of its seven VIP rooms in Macau, keeping them in ‘hibernation’ until the declining VIP market rebounds. With a travel company and planes of its own, David Group is eyeing the same markets as Gold Moon, with South Korea thrown in for good measure.

The two junkets will have lots of overseas company, including the Hengsheng Group, which saw VIP revenue take a tumble in 2014 and has since struck deals with the Crown Casino in Da Nang and the Walkerhill in South Korea. iGamiX analyst Ben Lee said junkets were embarking on their “biggest expansion phase ever” in a bid to replace the lost revenue in Macau.

Ambrose So, CEO of SJM Holdings, told the Hong Kong Economic Journal that there was little evidence that Macau’s VIP room closures had gone viral. So said Macau’s junket industry wouldn’t “jump on the bandwagon” and that any closures would “depend on the financial statement of individual enterprises.”

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