Ironically, the claim that the temporary casino’s VIP gaming turnover – which had been rolling around $2b per month in the first three months of 2016 – “will cease to grow and have become saturated” came from an Imperial Pacific public filing earlier this month, despite April’s VIP turnover topping $3.2b.
Mark Brown, CEO of Best Sunshine International, the Imperial Pacific subsidiary that operates the temporary casino, told Macau Business Daily this week that he “hated that line.” Brown said the saturation claim was only included in the filing because the numbers since last November’s launch “were so incredible” that the company was left wondering when the party would end.
Amazingly, Brown says the temporary casino has achieved this growth despite a lack of fixed relationships with junket operators. The casino has been handling its credit relationships with players on an internal basis, meaning no VIP gets to play on Saipan “unless we know you are.”
Saipan is part of the Northern Mariana Islands, an American commonwealth, and thus casino operators are under the scrutiny of US financial watchdogs (as erstwhile rival Tinian Dynasty found out to its cost). Brown says this puts extra pressure on operators to toe the line when it comes to know your customer protocols.
Far from scaring away customers, Brown says VIPs are embracing the US ties. “They say, ‘Wow, this feels good, it’s safe – I feel safe, my wife feels safe, I’m not going to get robbed, all the 9s [favorable cards in baccarat] are in the deck.’”
Brown says the temporary casino – which is located in a local shopping mall – is outperforming many Macau casinos despite having zero hotel rooms in which to house its visiting VIPs, 95% of whom Brown says come from mainland China.
Until the company’s permanent Grand Mariana Casino and Hotel Resort is completed later this year – assuming it secures the necessary financing – Brown says his firm is stashing VIPs and their families in renovated five-bedroom houses and yachts, a tactic that is reportedly providing the temporary casino with a unique selling point.
According to Brown, the VIPs “love going fishing, they love going out on the boat, they love staying on the yacht. They love staying up in the villa and just having that treatment of dinner.” Brown is convinced “we wouldn’t be doing these numbers” if they were only offering the same old VIP hotel suite experience.