Home Macau VIP business growing again in Macau

VIP business growing again in Macau

The Lunar New Year period has been a happy one for Macau’s gambling industry, with growing customer numbers and a return of VIP guests reported by some of the territory’s major casinos.

Official government figures show that during 8-17 February – traditionally one of the most lucrative periods in China -  1.28 million people visited Macau, a 13.6% increase on the same period the previous year.

Predictably, most of these visitors came from China itself. Official statistics show that 68% of customers during the period came from the mainland, itself an increase of 25.5% on the previous year. On 13 February alone, the increase was 36%.

VIPs return

VIP service at the Lisboa casinoAlthough a general increase in visitor numbers is good news for the territory, the most significant news of all is that VIP visitor numbers have been increasing as well. VIPs typically account for around two-thirds of Macau’s casino revenue, but with slowing rates of economic growth and reports of crackdowns on the junkets who bankroll such high rollers, the number of VIPs has declined in recent times.

Although it failed to name precise figures, casino operator MGM Holdings announced that it had seen a “strong comeback” in VIP numbers after the New Year festival.

Melco’s Philippine dream

This domestic success hasn’t deterred some of the territory’s major players from looking to expand into new areas, however. One such example is a new deal announced between the SM Group and Melco Crown Entertainment for the development of a new casino complex in the Philippine capital, Manila.

The $1 billion joint venture will see the establishment of one of the four new casinos planned for the city’s new 120-hectare Entertainment City. It is hoped that Entertainment City will boost Philippine gambling revenue from $1.3 billion in 2011 to over $10 billion by 2017, and establish it as a regional rival to Macau and Singapore