IAG DECEMBER 2016 WEB - page 4

MGShighlightsMacau’sgreat shift tomassmarket
f there had been any doubt previously that Macau
was ready to plunge headfirst into the future, it was –
in my mind at least – dispelled at last month’s MGS
Entertainment Show.
Wandering frombooth tobooth, it quicklybecameclear that
the common theme linkingmany of this year’s exhibitors was
eye-catching innovation aimed at diversifying themain gaming
floor. From the latest adaptations on traditional table games to
spectacular virtual video displays and one particularly notable
merging of forces, it seemed clear that manufacturers and
operators alike have finally accepted the vital rolemassmarket
gaming will play in Macau’s recovery. There is even an air of
excitement about it.
And so there should be, for just as the severity of Macau’s
revenue squeeze caught the local gaming industry off guard a
few years back, so too the pace of its recovery over the past
threemonths has come as apleasant surprise.
Since gross gaming revenue (GGR) snapped its
26-month downward trend in August with a small 1.1%
year-on-year rise, the good news has kept on coming with
7.4% growth in September, 8.5% inOctober andnow 14.4%
It included the news that GGR for the week of 14 to 20
November was up a massive 16% from 2015, likely aided by
the almost 5,000 new hotel rooms provided by recent resort
openings. And all of this on the back ofmass!
While itwillnodoubt takesomeyearsyet forMacau’scasino
industry to bring revenues back up to the dizzying heights of
2013, there are early signs that it won’t take anywhere near as
long as previously feared. They include Galaxy Entertainment
Group’s third quarter earnings report, released late October,
which obliterated all expectations on the back of huge mass
market growth. Galaxy was the first of Macau’s operators to
deliberately shift its focus tomass with the opening of Galaxy
Phase 2 and Broadway in May 2015 and is now reaping the
rewards with the segment up 18% year-on-year from July
throughSeptember 2016.
GEG’s earnings included total GGR growthof 8% at Galaxy
Macauon the back of a 19% rise inmass, while StarWorld saw
itsmassmarketGGRup 22%.
It was this seismic shift on display at MGS where, among
a host of new innovations, came the announcement that LT
Game is joining forceswithEZBaccarat to trial thepopular no-
commission variant on its LiveMulti-Game terminals atMGM
Macau. Andanother, withAristocrat revealing it hasbeengiven
the green light to deploy its ground-breaking slot/baccarat
hybridmachines across the city.
The government has spoken extensively about diversifying
Macau’s non-gaming offerings but just as important ismixing
it upon thegamingfloor tobroaden itsappeal toplayers. From
what we can tell, it’s challenge accepted.
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