In this regular feature in IAG to celebrate 17 years covering the Asian gaming and leisure industry, we look back at our cover story from exactly 10 years ago, “Cream of the Mass”, to rediscover what was making the news in January 2012!
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Much of the talk in Macau in recent months has focused on the need for operators to transform gaming space once reserved for VIP to premium mass, particularly given the plight of Asia’s leading junket, Suncity Group, and questions around the viability of the entire junket industry.
But similar issues were being tackled 10 years ago, as evidenced by the cover story of Inside Asian Gaming’s January 2022 issue titled “Cream of the Mass”.
Discussing the fact that surging visitation during the Chinese New Year holiday period was largely attributable to mass market players, we wrote, “Macau’s casino operators have long been accused of placing too much emphasis on VIP baccarat, which contributes over 70% of the city’s total casino revenue.
“Their focus appears to be shifting, however, and all the operators are now working on increasing their appeal to mass players – and especially to the premium mass – through upgraded facilities and marketing programmes.”
At the time, IAG described Sands China as the pioneer of the mass market segment in Macau, with the company in the process of upgrading high limit areas at The Venetian Macao, but 10 years on premium mass is clearly becoming the way forward. In 2021, Melco Resorts removed all VIP space from Altira Macau with a view to making it a premium mass property only; Sands China has made no secret of the fact that The Londoner Macao makeover is targeting premium mass; while Galaxy Macau Phase 3, due to open later this year, will also move for the premium mass segment.