Macau’s market for electronic gaming machines (EGMs) is “relatively undeveloped” but has “big potential” to grow in gaming revenue terms, suggested on Thursday a panel of executives from gaming equipment manufacturers and distributors.
They were speaking during a conference session at the MGS Entertainment Show 2018, a Macau-based trade event featuring casino equipment and a conference about the regional casino industry. The panel focused on innovation in the EGM segment and on strategies to expand its contribution to the aggregate gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the Macau market.
“In Macau, the electronic gaming machine market is still relatively small, relatively undeveloped and still relatively poorly understood by players that are visiting [the city],” said Walter Bugno, chief executive of international at global gaming supplier International Game Technology Plc (IGT).
The executive added that it would be up to the gaming equipment suppliers “to help develop this market” segment in Macau. Mr Bugno said manufacturers would need to work closely with regulators and casino operators in order “to speed up approvals and maximise what electronic gaming machines can do on the [casino] floor”.
Also speaking at the panel was Herman Ng, chief executive of electronic casino game distributor Asia Pioneer Entertainment Ltd (APE). He said there needed to be more promotion and education regarding EGMs, so that the segment’s revenue continues growing.
“EGMs revenue in Macau is increasing steadily. There’s big potential for this market to continue growing given the right approach,” said Mr Ng.
Combined revenue from slot machines and from live multi-game products – those featuring table-style games with live dealers but electronic betting and electronic bet settlement – was up 16.0 percent year-on-year in the first nine months this year, according to official data. Such revenue was nearly MOP13.16 billion (US$1.63 million), compared with approximately MOP11.35 billion in the prior-year period.
Still, the aggregate revenue from slot machines and live multi-game products accounted for only 5.9 percent of the overall casino GGR generated in the nine months to September 30.
Jay Chun, chairman of the Macau Gaming Equipment Manufacturers’ Association (MGEMA), recognised that more work needed to be done in order to expand the EGM segment in Macau. That, he said, included more favourable policies.
“We need to lobby more the [Macau] government, [so that there are policies] to encourage the [casino] operators to expand their EGM offering,” said Mr Chun.
Mr Chun is also chairman of Hong Kong-listed casino equipment maker Paradise Entertainment Ltd, which develops, supplies and sells electronic gaming systems under the LT Game brand.
The speakers on the panel agreed that the industry needed to do more to educate the players regarding EGMs, but also to deliver content that meets players’ expectations.
“To localise the product and to be sensitive to the local culture and language is very important,” noted Chris Rowe, managing director for Asia Pacific at slot machine maker Aristocrat Leisure Ltd.
“The experience one creates in the gaming device, the entertainment that a person experiences, may be the same,” from one market to the next; but needs to be “treated differently” market-by-market in terms of the elements and themes the manufacturer uses, he added.
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Year-on-year increase in total visitor arrivals to Macau in the first half of 2019