Inside Asian Gaming

January 2008 | INSIDE ASIAN GAMING 7 Cover Story M GM Grand Macau’s “Players Wanted” ad campaign oozes cool. It features the trendy party set descending upon the property in search of a wild night out. Among the crowd are a playboy, a photographer and a footballer’s wife. The last time Inside Asian Gaming visited a Macau VIP gaming area, we ran into rather more middle-aged mainland Chinese factory own- ers than footballers’wives.That’s not to say we don’t fully support MGM Grand Macau’s vision. We’d love to see Macau evolve into a magnet for the chic party set. It just might take more than one property to take it there, especially when that property has yet to open any night- clubs.The development of a fashion industry and professional football league in tiny Macau, though unlikely, would also help. The “Players Wanted” ad campaign does, however, accurately re- flect the spirit of MGM Grand Macau’s ultra-cool interiors, which even “players” more interested in hitting the baccarat tables and sipping tea than hitting the dance floor and smearing their faces with caviar in existential moments—another memorable scene from the ad— will appreciate. We feel MGM Grand Macau is, hands down, the best looking property in town.The Venetian is a tad gaudy for our taste.TheWynn is elegant, but perhaps a touch too conservative. Crown is sleek and contemporary, but lacks any visible wow-factor, despite its six-star preten... um, aspirations. As Macau develops sufficient appeal to convince Hong Kong’s party crowd to take an hour-long boat ride for a night out in the neighboring city, MGM Grand Macau is likely to become their des- tination of choice. We just wouldn’t expect the party crowd’s con- tribution to gaming revenue to come anywhere close to that of the uncool factory owners. Vital stats MGM Grand Macau is the first project from MGM Grand Paradise Ltd, a 50/50 joint venture between Las Vegas-based hotel and enter- tainment giant MGM MIRAGE and Pansy Ho—Managing Director of Shun Tak (a Hong Kong-listed conglomerate which boasts extensive shipping, property and hospitality interests in Macau), and daughter of Macau casino mogul Stanley Ho. When the property opened its doors on December 18, it became the final debut property from one of Macau’s six casino licensees. It is located on a prime waterfront site, in the neighbourhood of Wynn Macau, the Grand Lisboa and StarWorld. The 35-storey property fea- tures 600 guest rooms, including two duplex villas on the upper two floors, 24 villas, 99 suites and 468 guest rooms of varying sizes. The gaming area consists of 385 table games, 890 slot machines and 16 private gaming salons. MGM Grand Macau currently lacks much of a retail component,but will be connected to the sprawling One Central project (developed jointly by Shun Tak and Hongkong Land), which will realistically open in about eighteen months and feature some 400,000 sq. ft of gross retail space. A 10-metre, 63-tonne signature golden lion statue stands guard outside MGM Grand Macau. The building itself features three sections of varying shades of gold—the structure’s shape evokes the swell of the ocean surf, while its mirrored façade re- flects the hues of the South China Sea. Striking features of the property include a soaring European- inspired atrium, the Grande Praça (where the opening ceremony was held), a VIP hotel lobby with gold foil ceiling, and several bronze sculptures by surrealist master Salvador Dali dotted throughout in a temporary exhibition (one piece will remain permanently on show in the property). What overcapacity? Fears of emerging overcapacity in Macau are being universally A New Wave Rolls In Inside Asian Gaming takes a candid look at the coolest-looking property in Macau, and chats with MGM MIRAGE Chairman and CEO Terry Lanni about the dynamics of the high-end casino market in Macau