A director of Macau gaming promoter Gold Moon Group has confirmed to GGRAsia that it has closed a VIP gambling room it operated at Sands China Ltd’s Sands Cotai Central resort (pictured) in the city.
But Chiu Siu Fung stressed in a telephone interview on Wednesday that the junket firm’s business was “stable” and that the change was part of a reorganisation that has been going on for a year to pursue more business overseas. Mr Chiu added there would be no job losses as a result of the closure.
The 16-table VIP room had been operating at Sands Cotai Central since the resort opened in April 2012.
The news comes days after another gaming promoter – David Group – said in a statement it would close three out of seven of its VIP rooms in Macau on January 31; also citing a desire to expand overseas.
According to a note on January 15 from Japanese finance house Nomura, David Group is one of the top-10 junket operators in the Macau gaming market judged by volume of VIP chip roll.
Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac on Wednesday said the government is closely following the closure of some VIP rooms in Macau. “We are paying attention [to the changes in the gaming industry], and the relevant services [of the government] will deal with these matters,” Mr Leong told local reporters, according to Radio Macau.
The Macau government earlier this week announced the establishment of a task force on the gaming industry, with the main goal being to address the issue of potential job layoffs in the sector.
A senior Chinese official on Tuesday said that the mainland’s ongoing anti-corruption campaign could have been a factor in the recent decline of Macau gaming revenue.
Mr Chiu of Gold Moon, told GGRAsia on Wednesday regarding his firm’s scaling down of Macau operations: “As the business in Sands Cotai Central has not been doing really well, so we thought why don’t we close it [that VIP room] down and further develop the overseas market like the Philippines, Vietnam and Australia? We have already been doing this and bringing guests [to those places] for about a year.”
The junket executive added: “The business proportion between the Macau and overseas markets will be half-and-half, but Macau will absolutely remain as our major market. What is absolutely certain is that our business remains stable and there aren’t any risks.”
“The employees working in Sands Cotai Cental can choose to work in the VIP rooms of other properties, or other non-gaming businesses our group run. We will not sack any people,” said Mr Chiu, declining to state the number of people affected, citing a desire to be absolutely accurate in any public statements.
He added: “As the central government wants Macau to diversify its economy from gaming, we have also been doing so. We also have a food souvenir business in Hong Kong which is quite popular; we have seafood restaurants here [in Macau] and we will soon open a tourism agency in Macau as well.”
According to its website, Gold Moon also has VIP rooms at Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd’s Altira; Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd’s Galaxy Macau; Wynn Macau Ltd’s Wynn Macau, and Macau Legend Development Ltd’s Pharaoh’s Palace Casino at the Landmark Hotel, operated under the licence of SJM Holdings Ltd. Those four rooms have an aggregate of 70 VIP tables according to the website.
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”The Macau government is not aiming to trivialise or drive out the junket sector, but to regulate the sector so that it would not hurt Macau’s reputation”
Alvin Chau Cheok Wa
Chief executive of privately-held VIP junket business Suncity Group