Linda Chen, vice chairman and chief operating officer of Macau casino operator Wynn Macau Ltd, says she is “not worried at all” with the ongoing contraction in the city’s VIP gaming sector. Ms Chen expects the overall market to display signs of stabilisation between now and year-end.
“It’s going to be a stabilised market” for the rest of 2019, Ms Chen (pictured in a file photo) told GGRAsia. She was talking on the sidelines of the MGS Entertainment Show 2019, a casino industry trade exhibition and conference taking place in Macau.
Questioned about the current decline in VIP gaming revenue in Macau, somewhat offset by growth in the mass market segment, Ms Chen noted there was “a fine line between VIP and premium mass”.
She added: “They’re all good customers. The most important is all of them come to Macau. That is what makes the market sustainable.”
Profit at casino operator Wynn Macau Ltd more than halved year-on-year in the third quarter, on casino revenue that slipped 19.7 percent, said the firm last week. The casino operator recorded a sharp decline in VIP gambling business for the period at its two properties: Wynn Macau, on the city’s peninsula; and Wynn Palace, a Cotai venue that launched in 2016.
Several leaders of the local industry – Sands China Ltd’s president Wilfred Wong Ying Fai in comments to GGRAsia on Tuesday; Lawrence Ho Yau Lung, chairman and chief executive of Macau licensee Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd in commentary on his firm’s latest conference call with analysts; and Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, boss of privately-held Macau junket brand Suncity Group speaking at a recent event – have also mentioned they saw signs of stabilisation of demand in the Macau casino market for the fourth quarter.
Aggregate Macau casino GGR for the 10 months to October 31 stood at MOP246.74 billion (US$30.61 billion), a contraction of 1.8 percent year-on-year, according to official data.
Crystal Pavilion on the drawing board
In her comments to GGRAsia, Ms Chen also talked about the Crystal Pavilion, a new glass-and-steel extension within the grounds of Wynn Palace.
“We’re eagerly working on that and progressing with our design. Once we are ready, we will submit [the project] for approval” from the government, she said.
Ms Chen did not comment on the potential opening date for the project. “I don’t want to commit to a timeline right now because that’s not the most important. It’s more important getting the right product.”
Wynn Macau Ltd has previously stated it expected construction to begin late in 2021, followed by a “36-plus months” construction timetable. The firm’s gaming concession is due to expire in June 2022.
Wynn Macau Ltd’s Ms Chen said Crystal Palace would be “all non-gaming”. She said it would include a “big component” related to arts, new food and beverage outlets and “an immersive entertainment theatre that will host interactive and experiential shows.”
In a July presentation to the investment community, the Wynn group mentioned that Crystal Pavilion would have an art museum, a “270-degree fully-immersive entertainment theatre,” and what it termed a “destination food hall that offers a wide variety of regional Asian cuisines”. The firm anticipated 7 million to 10 million visitors annually for the new facility.
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”China has been strengthening the control over capital flow, and the impact of that has already been reflected [on Macau’s gaming revenue trend]. There should not be any bigger impact from the new… legislation [on the mainland] … on the gaming revenue trend here”
Wilfred Wong Ying Wai
President of Macau casino operator Sands China