MGM Resorts is going on a tourist-friendly route to get more people through the doors of its second casino in Macau.
MGM Chairman and CEO Jim Murren told Bloomberg they are devoting more space for mass-market gamblers in the $3-billion MGM Cotai, which is scheduled to open in the latter part of 2016. The casino operator’s MGM China Holdings Ltd. is in charge of developing the property.
The casino operators is veering away from VIPs, whose continued absence from the Macau gambling scene has led to a slump that’s shaved close to $14 billion in revenue from the city state. In fact, casinos in Macau posted last month its lowest revenue in almost five years, according to a Macau Business Daily report.
The report quoted data from the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ), which showed that gaming revenues dropped 33 percent YoY to MOP17.13 billion ($2.15 billion) in September from MOP 25.56 billion in 2014.
Murren admitted all resort owners in Macau are struggling to keep up with the challenging business climate—brought on by China’s economic slowdown, President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive and the decreasing number of visitors from the mainland. Junket operators may have played a key role in bringing big spenders to Macau for many years, but their importance has waned as many VIPs stopped coming to the city state, leaving behind empty tables.
Because of this, the CEO said “the junket rooms will be smaller” in the new casino since “it allows you to use tables more productively.”
The Cotai casino is about 1 million square feet larger than MGM Macau. Murren told the news outlet that they plan to build a mall with restaurants, and a theater that can be converted into a nightclub, concert or ballroom space.
MGM isn’t the first to veer away from VIP gamblers. Last week, Galaxy Entertainment Group announced that it is turning its ex-David Group VIP area into a premium mass table gambling zone.
The new Pavilion VIP room is a cash play zone operated by the house. It has 41 tables, including two no-smoking zones of six and seven tables apiece.