Inside Asian Gaming

INSIDE ASIAN GAMING | Dec 2007 20 Property Preview G iven the background of the partners behind the MGM Grand Paradise Ltd joint venture, MGM Grand Macau could well offer the coolest gaming venue in town. The JV is a powerful amalgamation of international and local experience and re- sources, and is a 50/50 partnership between Las Vegas-based hotel and entertainment giant MGM MIRAGE and Pansy Ho—Manag- ing Director of Shun Tak (a Hong Kong-listed conglomerate which boasts extensive ship- ping, property and hospitality interests in Macau), and daughter of Macau casino mo- gul Stanley Ho. Until three years ago, for 42-years, Stan- ley Ho held a casino monopoly in Macau, and his landmark Casino Lisboa reigned su- preme.With most of the action conducted in private VIP gaming rooms and given the lack of competing venues, there was no pressure to offer better services or more inviting sur- roundings, with the main floor in particular left to decay. Now, with the explosion of choice available to customers, operators are scrambling to differentiate themselves with- in the market and offer superior hardware and software. Segmentation arrives The new era arrived when Las Vegas Sands Corp (LVS) unveiled the stadium- style Sands Macao in May 2004. Despite the opening of LVS’ mammoth follow up, Vene- tian Macao, in August this year, Sands re- tains its thriving mass-market atmosphere, providing a dynamic people-watching space in which to wander and place bets among heaving crowds. LVS’ main goal when opening Sands Macao was to bring attention back to the long-neglected mass market in Macau, and as such, the property was designed with all the elements to re- main an enduring crowd-puller. The next big opening came over two years later in September 2006, with Wynn Macau making a welcome upscale addition to the market after a lengthy gap in new casino openings. Wynn Macau’s emphasis is on luxury, and the property does particu- larly well among the older well-heeled de- mographic (the high-end shopping mall at Wynn Macau is notably one of the highest- grossing malls per sq. ft in the world). The unveiling of Galaxy Entertainment Group’s flagship StarWorld Hotel & Casino in October 2006 may have lost some of its im- Calm Before the Roar The opening of MGM Grand Macau on December 18 will mark the final property debut by one of Macau’s five new casino concessionaires, and provide a clear view of the personality and positioning of the MGM Grand Paradise Ltd joint venture