2 Francis Lui
Galaxy Entertainment Group
POWER SCORE: 7,493
POSITION LAST YEAR: 2
CLAIMS TO FAME
Has advantage of being a local operator
Largest Cotai land holdings of the six gaming concessions
Hengqin island presence with plans for a non-gaming IR
If there has been one constant in Macau in recent years, it has been Galaxy Entertainment Group consistently outperforming the market.
With Francis Lui, the son of Hong Kong business mogul Lui Che Woo, leading the charge, Galaxy has ridden a tidal wave of success ever since emerging bruised but not battered from Macau’s mid-decade downturn. With the exception of Cotai Strip founder Sands China, Galaxy was the first to expand its offerings with the launch of Phase 2 in 2015 and while some concessionaires have only just arrived in Cotai – or are still waiting to get their foot in the door – Lui’s Macau masterplan is already well advanced with Phase 3 to open its doors by mid-2020.
It’s hard to think of Galaxy as anything but a company with a clear vision of what the market wants and how to bring it to fruition – a fact highlighted by continued strong growth across all segments in 2018.
And just as flagship property Galaxy Macau sets the gold standard for quality and service, StarWorld continues to lead the way on the peninsula – defying the gradual market-wide shift by customers over the bridge.
“Simply put,” said Union Gaming’s Grant Govertsen in a 2Q18 note, “Galaxy is still firing on all cylinders and we don’t see anything on the horizon that should derail the company’s ability to continue to take share.”
In Japan, the company boasts a similar clarity of direction, having been quick to form a partnership with Monaco’s famous Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer that is rumored to have impressed Japanese officials.
Discussing the benefits of that partnership during this year’s Japan Gaming Congress, Galaxy board member Michael Mecca said, “Our partnership promises something truly unique for Japan. Together, we possess the financial capability, integrity and strength of vision to bring integrated resorts to Japan successfully, using them as a powerful catalyst for growth, not only economically, but socially and culturally as we have done in the other cities where we operate.”
Other expansion plans haven’t been quite so smooth. In March, Galaxy announced that it had been granted a provisional casino license by Philippines gaming regulator PAGCOR for a US$500 million IR in Boracay, only for the country’s President, Rodrigo Duterte, to scupper those plans just a few weeks later with his proclamation that no new casinos would be built under his watch. That situation remains in limbo, yet the Galaxy train rolls on with the company pulling off one of the more audacious moves of the year when it snapped up 5.3 million shares in Wynn Resorts, representing a 4.9% stake, for US$927.5 million on the same day Steve Wynn sold off his last shares.
“This is a unique opportunity to acquire an investment in a globally recognized entertainment corporation with exceptionally high quality assets and a significant development pipeline,” Lui said at the time.
It’s all quite an achievement for a man with a background in civil and structural engineering rather than gaming.
The 63-year-old has closed to within touching distance of Sheldon Adelson for the number one spot on the Asian Gaming Power 50 list this year and on the current trajectory has every chance of moving to number one in 2019.
For the full list of 2018 Asian Gaming Power 50 winners, click here.