IAG June 2014 - page 6

inside
asiangaming
June2014
6
MattHurstwason the front lines inMacau for theopeningsof Sands,
WynnandCityofDreams.He’sworking forKazuoOkada in thePhilippines
now,wherehebelieveshe’sgot thecategory-killer.
IAG
:
Lookingahead to thebigopening
in2015,what are the targetmarkets for
ManilaBayResortsat thispoint in the
planning?
MrHurst:
In terms of themass of our
numberswewould say 90%of our
customerswe expect tobe locals, 25%of our
revenue. Theother 10%of the customerswill
be international customers, and theywould
represent 75%of our revenue. Targets.
InternationalmeaningChinese?
Chinese, Korean, Japan, Taiwanese,
Singapore,Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia.
Have I forgotten anywhere?Vietnam.We’re
certainly lookingpan-Asia. But clearly there
are a lot Chinese customers fromMalaysia,
fromSingapore, from Indonesia. There are
Chinesedomestic customers. Soweneed to
beon topof what aChinese customerwants.
ButmainlandChina, we’re certainly zeroed
inon that. And there’s a lot of potential
upside. In the year 2000 therewere less
than 8,000mainlandChinese visiting the
Philippines. In 2012 it was around 250,000.
Last year it was 425,000. This yearwe’reup
40% already on last year, and that was 70%
growth last year.Now that won’t carry on
forever. But theupside forwhenweopen at
the endof next year iswe’reprobably looking
M
attHurst
, oneof the
topguns inmachine
gaming inMacau for the
better part of adecade,
quit theboomingChinese
gamblingenclave theendof last year for
sultryManilaandhis “dream job,” ashe
calls it, running the casino thatwill be the
largest in thePhilippineswhen it opensnext
year as theanchor of KazuoOkada’sUS$2
billionManilaBayResorts.
ManilaBayResortswill encompassa full 44
of EntertainmentCity’s120hectareswhen it’s
built out—the thirdof the four IRs licensed
for thegovernment-sponsored leisuredistrict
and thebiggest of themultimately—“an
integrated resort that’sgoing tostand
shoulder toshoulderwithanything inAsia
or theworld,” saysMrHurst. The first of its
threephaseswill feature1,000hotel rooms,
anightclub, adomedpool andVegas-style
day club, 22 restaurants, aspa, significant
meetingsandexhibitionspaceand7,500
squaremetersof highend retail, all of it set
against adramaticoutdoordisplayof dancing
fountains.
Plans for the30,000-square-meter casino
call for 3,000machinegames and500 table
games.MrHurstwill be in chargeof them
all. As executive vicepresident—Casino
Operations andMarketing forMBR’s
operating company, TigerResort, Leisure
andEntertainment, his responsibilities
range from strategicplanningand
development tomass andVIPmarketing,
advertising, branding, public relations and
customer service.
A “dream job,” indeed, andhe’s amassed
awealthof experience inpreparation for
it, datingback toSkyCityAuckland in the
Harrah’sdays. He came toMacauas a
senior shiftmanager at SandsMacao four
monthsbefore the casino’shistoricMay
2004opening. Hewas atWynnMacau for
its 2006opening, servingasdirector of
Slot Operationsbeforehelping toopenhis
thirdMacau resort,MelcoCrown’sCity of
Dreams, wherehewas vicepresident—
GamingMachines fromMay 2008 through
November of last year andwas instrumental
inpioneering concepts suchas floor-wide
jackpots anddedicatedhigh-limit areas that
arenow staples of themarket.
InsideAsianGaming
caught upwithhim
recently for awide-rangingdiscussion
of theenormousopportunities awaiting
adestinationon the scaleofManilaBay
Resorts ina country that haspresented its
premier operators todatewith some sizable
challenges aswell.
May2014
Cover Story
I’llTakeManila
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