Macau-based junket operator Meg-Star International has confirmed to GGRAsia it is currently preparing for “two new openings” of fresh-to-market VIP gaming clubs in the city. The firm added it was optimistic about the VIP gaming business for this year. Investment bank Credit Suisse AG noted in a memo last week there had been some slowing in the rate of VIP casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) growth in the Macau market since mid-December.
Meg-Star International said one of the new high roller clubs would be at MGM Cotai. In a November 9 note, brokerage JP Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Ltd said it understood five junket operators intended to open rooms at MGM Cotai. They were identified as Suncity Group, Guangdong Group, Tak Chun Group, David Group and Meg-Star International.
MGM Cotai is due to have a January 29 opening, although the venue’s management, MGM China Holdings Ltd, has previously indicated that the property would not initially have VIP junkets. Meg-Star told us the opening date for its MGM Cotai VIP club was not yet finalised.
The junket firm’s other new VIP club is to be at City of Dreams Macau, a Cotai casino resort promoted by Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd. The date of that opening is yet to be disclosed.
Meg-Star International told us in an email: “Due to the overall economy improvement and new [casino resort] projects entering into the market, Meg-Star maintains a positive view on the development of the Macau VIP market in 2018. We believe other [junket promoter] companies will also actively adjust their development strategy, depending on the development of the market, to maintain a healthy growth in coming years.”
MGM Cotai would open with so-called direct VIP only – high roller players managed by the house – with junkets introduced “in the late first quarter 2018/early second quarter 2018 timeframe”, noted brokerage Deutsche Bank Securities Inc in a January 10 note, citing “management” commentary.
MGM China recently announced it was to host an “official grand opening ceremony” for its MGM Cotai resort on February 13. But the firm’s release did not clarify why the ceremony would be later than the January 29 opening to the public announced in September.
In early December Meg-Star International opened a new-to-market VIP gaming club – branded “Meg-Star Lian Sheng VIP Club” – at the Wynn Macau casino hotel on the city’s peninsula. The gaming promoter noted at the time that it was operating a total of five VIP gaming clubs in the city, and was planning to expand its VIP gaming business in Macau and overseas.
(Updated Jan 16, 11am)
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Chief executive of the Australia-based Gaming Technologies Association