In preparation for the Golden Week holiday period, Galaxy Entertainment Group has turned its former David Group VIP area into a premium mass table gambling zone.
The new Pavilion VIP Room admits players by invitation or those with a platinum level membership in Galaxy’s Privilege Club—the second lowest tier of Galaxy’s four-level player reward program.
The Pavilion is a cash play zone operated by the house, not by a junket, with a minimum bet ranging from HKD2,000 (US$258) to HKD10,000, and would allow smoking in some places. Out of 41 tables, there are two no-smoking zones of six and seven tables apiece.
“This area was earmarked before as a VIP area. That’s why we can continue operating as a smoking zone. I think the definition of VIP is not related to a rolling chip programme,” said Galaxy director for international premium, premium mass and mass market development Raymond Yap Yin Min.
Smoking is currently permitted in VIP gaming areas and the Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau (DICJ) predicts that the future implementation of the universal smoking ban in local casinos will affect the city’s gaming revenues by between 2.76% and 4.6%.
Hopes pinned on Golden Week
Macau’s casino industry—beaten for 18 months by a combination of policy developments, including China’s anti-graft crackdown and a weakening of the underlying Chinese economy—is looking to October’s Golden Week, one of the most important times in the Chinese holiday calendar, for signs of either gambling market stabilization or improvement.
According to Credit Suisse AG, premium mass “player quality” in Macau for Golden Week, which starts Oct.1, is likely to be only slightly below that of last year.
“On player quality, we did some checks with the premium mass hosts. They generally mention that the player quality (measured by the spend per player to quality of hotel room) is only marginally lower than last year,” said analysts Kenneth Fong and Isis Wong in a note.
Galaxy COO Kevin Kelley told GGRAsia that the company is cautiously optimistic that Golden Week is going to be good but expects challenges, adding “analysts shouldn’t read too much into year-over-year performance, given the fact we’re comparing it to a much longer period [of time] this year.”
“You can’t look at Macau in one-month periods. You have to look at Macau in the long-term. And when you do that, I think Macau has a very bright future,” said Kelley.