American Gaming Association President Geoff Freeman discusses how the decline in revenues is challenging Macau’s casino sector to diversify in order to keep up with the changing environment.
What keeps the casino industry fresh? Diversification, according to Geoff Freeman.
The president of American Gaming Association said that rings especially true in Macau, where the battle against declining gaming revenues continues with no end in sight.
“I think the one silver linking that’s happening to market is it’s forcing to people to really think,” Freeman told CalvinAyre.com. “Attracting the Chinese to this market in the past 10 years has been easy, and this new environment, where there is a challenging environment, is really going to test the marketing prowess of these companies. It’s going to test the infrastructure in this area.”
To stay ahead of the game, Freeman said Macau should remove the frictions and make it easier for customers to get into the city state.
“They can’t get the bridge from Hong Kong built fast enough. In a sense that this is now a very competitive market, you need to do the little things other markets are doing at a regular basis. When you look at Las Vegas, you look at more than $200 million spend marketing that destination every year. What is Macau doing to market itself?” he noted.
Freeman suggested the city state to take a page out of Las Vegas’s book and diversify its offerings to keep up with the changing environment.
“With this industry, we realize is that if you’re static, you’re just relying on the same product, you’re falling behind. You need to constantly make new investments. You need to constantly reinvent your properties, and that’s what you see Wynn, Las Vegas Sands, MGM [are] doing in this market in Las Vegas and in other markets where they have properties. That’s what keeps this industry fresh and I think that’s what keeps them competitive,” the AGA president said.
Aside from Macau, the association is also keeping a close eye on the emerging markets in Asia, particularly Japan.
“There’s a great interest across the industry and what is Japan going to do as Japan considers legalization,” Freeman said. “We want to be helpful. It’s not our job to go in and say, ‘you shouldn’t have casinos.’ That’s a local decision, but if you’re going to consider casinos, we’d like to be resource. We’d like to provide the facts. I think the one we all know as we watch new markets emerge is they often start with this idea of all the ills associated with casino gaming, but you’ve got an industry that’s now vibrant in 40 U.S. states. It’s now vibrant around Asia. I think we’ve got a pretty good story to tell.”