Things will no longer be the same for Macau as the embattled gambling enclave sees the light at the end of the tunnel.
This was the belief of casino magnate Lui Che-Woo as he pointed out that Macau’s growth will no longer be propelled by the high rollers, which helped Asia’s premier gaming hub overtake Las Vegas in terms of revenue in 2002.
“I don’t have enough courage to say it can be bigger than the VIP market — what I can say is that we are optimistic,” Lui told Agence France Presse.
The good news, according to Lui, is that the semi-autonomous Macau will see stable growth in the coming years thanks to rise of the mass market.
The chairman of Galaxy Entertainment Group pointed out that the only way for Macau to move forward is to take the “mass market” approach. He cited his new casino and its rivals in Macau’s Cotai strip as examples on how Macau has diversified into catering the mass market.
Phase two of Lui’s existing Galaxy casino opened last year, boasting a sprawling rooftop water park complete with river rapids. Following Galaxy’s suit were Melco Crown’s Studio City, the Wynn Palace and Sands’ The Parisian, which invested mainly in restaurants, shows and family-friendly attractions — as well as slots and gaming tables.
“We are going toward the direction of mass market clients, our confidence in this is absolute,” said Lui, who is worth US$8.2 billion according to Bloomberg Billionaires.
Lui said that the number of middle-class clients remain unscathed by the economic downturn in mainland China. Lui is planning phase three of his Galaxy resort, which will include a high-tech theme park.
Earlier this month, Lui predicted that it will take at least two more years for the city state to bounce back since “it takes time to gradually attract more mass-market customers.” Macau officials have been pushing casino operators to build mass market-friendly resorts that have more entertainment options other than gambling.