Macau VIP gaming promoter Gold Moon Group has suspended all VIP operations at the Wynn Macau casino resort, following the closure of its sole remaining room there, GGRAsia has learnt from some of the junket firm’s staff and from local casino labour group, Forefront of Macao Gaming.
The suspension was with effect from Saturday, May 21, reception staff at the room told GGRAsia by telephone on Friday.
Prior to that, Forefront of Macao Gaming had carried – on social media accounts it runs – an internal notice dated May 6 and said to be from the junket firm, warning of the coming suspension of the room at Wynn Macau. The internal notice indicated the termination was at the request of Wynn Macau, a casino property operated by Wynn Macau Ltd.
GGRAsia sought comment respectively from Gold Moon Group and from Wynn Macau Ltd regarding the suspension of that particular VIP gambling room at Wynn Macau. We had not received a reply from either party by the time the story went online.
“Due to the impact of the overall economic environment, Wynn has decided to terminate cooperation with the group this month, despite rounds of negotiations,” said the Chinese-language internal notice attributed by Forefront of Macao Gaming to Gold Moon Group.
The labour grouping added that Gold Moon Group was “terminating all labour relations” with its staff at the VIP gambling room following the suspension of business at Wynn Macau.
Reception staff at a Gold Moon Group VIP room at Altira Macau – a casino hotel in Taipa operated by Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd – confirmed to GGRAsia on Friday that operations there were continuing. Melco Crown said in an email to GGRAsia that it had been given no indication by Gold Moon Group to suggest this would change.
In January last year, Gold Moon Group had said it was closing a VIP room at Sands Cotai Central, a Cotai property run by Sands China Ltd. At that time, Gold Moon Group’s website said it had 70 VIP tables in the Macau market, spread across VIP rooms at: Wynn Macau; Altira; Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd’s Galaxy Macau; and Macau Legend Development Ltd’s Pharaoh’s Palace Casino at the Landmark Hotel, operated under the licence of SJM Holdings Ltd.
The scaling down of business of Gold Moon Group has taken place as Macau has seen a decline in the revenue from VIP gambling and a decline in the number of junket operators. As of January the number of licensed junket operators had dropped to 141, down by 23 percent year-on-year and also down by 40 percent when compared to the peak at 235 licensed junket operators in 2013, show data from the local regulator the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ). One additional junket licence has meanwhile been issued, bringing the total number of gaming promoters to 142 as of February 4, according to the gaming regulator.
“Consolidation in the Macau junket space is a continuing theme. The junket operators and international marketing people we spoke with believe the number of junkets in Macau will continue to decline as increasing regulation and scrutiny make it more difficult to do business for smaller junkets,” brokerage Sanford C. Bernstein Ltd wrote in a Monday report following meetings last week with Macau casino operators and junkets.
Some volatility experienced in the daily amount of VIP gross gaming revenue recorded in Macau is linked to the presence in the market of smaller junkets, said the instution. The smaller junkets have greater liquidity constraints than the larger ones, said the brokerage’s analysts Vitaly Umansky, Simon Zhang and Clifford Kurz.
The brokerage also noted that the top four junket operators in Macau – Suncity Group, Guangdong Group, Golden Group and Tak Chun Group – collectively now hold “over 70 percent of junket VIP market share” in Macau, according to Sanford Bernstein. Suncity Group, led and controlled by Alvin Chau Cheok Wa, has a close to 40 percent market share and is “at well over two plus times” its nearest competitor, Guangdong Group, according to the brokerage.
Nonetheless, “several junkets commented that bad debt issues were easing slowly and that the collections by agents have started to improve: if this trend continues it would bode well for tempering some of the VIP headwinds,” said Sanford Bernstein.
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”There will be an explicit ban made against the sharing of casino revenue – in any form or agreement – between VIP gaming promoters and the [Macau gaming] concessionaires”
Macau Secretary for Administration and Justice