At least two Macau casino operators recently have changed their rules on the provision of free shuttle bus services to visitors, GGRAsia has learned. MGM China Holdings Ltd and Wynn Macau Ltd are now requiring passengers to present a casino loyalty programme membership card or a purchase receipt to be allowed on board the free shuttle buses departing from their respective properties.
Guests wanting to take a free shuttle bus from the MGM Macau casino hotel – managed by MGM China – have to present a valid on-date purchase receipt or provide proof that they are staying at the property’s hotel. They can also get an on-date shuttle bus ticket if they are a member of the firm’s loyalty programme, GGRAsia learned from a company notice posted at MGM Macau’s shuttle bus stop, and from MGM China’s staff.
The new rules at MGM Macau have been in place since March 1. Previously, guests could board freely on any shuttle bus departing from the casino hotel without having to show any document.
MGM China told GGRAsia the new rules were aimed at providing “better management and quality of service for guests”.
Wynn Macau casino hotel, opposite to MGM Macau, has introduced similar requirements for shuttle bus users, also from March 1. The goal is to offer a “more exclusive experience” to guests, stated a notice at the firm’s shuttle bus stop.
City of Dreams Macau, managed by casino operator Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd, also now requires the presentation of a loyalty club membership card or of a purchase receipt for guests wanting to use its free shuttle bus route going to the Gongbei border gate during “peak hours ” – i.e. between 5pm and 9pm – GGRAsia learnt from company staff.
Gongbei border gate is the main crossing point between Macau and Zhuhai in the neighbouring mainland province of Guangdong.
Macau casino operators already have cut a total of 11 casino shuttle bus routes while 10 routes were “optimised” as part of a government initiative to reduce eventually the number of such buses on the city’s roads by 20 percent.
Gaming firms are also under pressure to reduce their operation costs as casino revenue in Macau continues to decline, say several investment analysts. Some casino operators have scaled down their advertising costs to 2012 levels as they grapple with the gambling market downturn, said a September report from investment bank Morgan Stanley.
At least two Macau casino operators – Sands China Ltd and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd – told GGRAsia that they did not plan to introduce restrictions to the usage of their free shuttle bus services by guests.
GGRAsia also contacted Macau casino operator SJM Holdings Ltd for details on its free shuttle bus service policy, but had not received a response at the time our story was published. A visit by GGRAsia to company flagship property Grand Lisboa showed free shuttle bus service users needed to present a ‘ticket’ – available for free – or a casino loyalty programme membership card to be allowed to use the service.
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Analyst at Roth Capital Partners