May 05, 2023 Newsdesk Latest News, Macau, Top of the deck
Macau-based casino operator Sands China Ltd is introducing a series of measures to attract more foreign players to its properties, said company president Wilfred Wong Ying Wai (pictured in a file photo) on Thursday. He added that the firm had around 90 percent of its hotel room inventory available during the recent five-day Labour Day break, compared to circa 70 percent in the first quarter.
“We are organising our overseas offices, expanding them, so that they recruit customers from Southeast Asia, Japan, [South] Korea,” Mr Wong told the television service of local public broadcaster TDM.
He added: “We will use private jets to bring high rollers into Macau. That we have been practising since the introduction of the new concession [in January].”
As part of the Macau government’s tender process for new 10-year gaming concessions, bidders were asked to create plans and pledge investment on a number of issues, including bringing in more customers from overseas. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Macau was overwhelmingly a Chinese tourism market, with mainland China and Hong Kong accounting for 89.6 percent of Macau’s 39.4-million visitor arrivals in 2019, according to Macau government data.
Mr Wong stated in his comments to TDM that Sands China planned to conduct “many overseas promotions” to market its properties in Macau. “We are going to Singapore to do a promotion campaign in early June,” he said.
It was announced in March that Sands China was partnering with the city’s flag-carrier airline, Air Macau Co Ltd, to offer what was termed “an exclusive hotel package and a wide range of privileges” to “Singaporean and regional visitors”. The campaign runs until June 30.
Sands China’s parent, Las Vegas Sands Corp, runs the Marina Bay Sands casino resort in Singapore.
Under the updated regulatory framework for Macau gaming, the city’s chief executive has the authority to reduce by up to 5 percentage points casino operators’ tax burden on casino gross gaming revenue (GGR) generated by players from “foreign countries,” as a matter of “public interest”. The Macau government confirmed last month that all the city’s six casino operators had launched gaming zones for foreigners: setting up such zones is a first step for operators to be able to apply for the tax reduction.
Mr Wong told media on Thursday that Sands China was eyeing to get a reduction on its tax burden based on its work to attract foreign visitors to Macau. He added that the local authorities would “complete a review” of the firm’s first quarter results regarding its gaming operations for foreigners, before deciding on a potential tax reduction.
More rooms available
The president of Sands China also said that the firm had around 90 percent of its hotel rooms available during the recent Labour Day period, or circa 11,000 rooms out a total inventory of about 12,000 rooms. He said the group’s properties were 100 percent booked for two days of the holiday period, with average booking rates for the rest of the break period tracking 97 to 98 percent.
Market-wide, and according to the Macao Government Tourism Office, out of the aggregate 46,000 hotel rooms in the Macau market, around 2,000 were not available during the May Day break.
China’s State Council had designated April 29 to May 3 inclusive as the Labour Day holiday period on the mainland, a period sometimes referred to by the investment community as “May Golden Week”.
Approximately 3,800 rooms – about 31 percent of Sands China’s total portfolio – were out of service in the first quarter, “due to labour constraints”, parent Las Vegas Sands Corp mentioned in an earnings presentation issued last month along with its first quarter results.
Mr Wong also admitted it would be a “real challenge” for overall GGR in the Macau market to return to pre-pandemic levels. That, he said, was because of the significant reduction in junket operations that had taken place in the market. “That used to be about 50 percent of the revenue,” he noted.
According to several analysts, changes in the regulatory environment in Macau and in mainland China – the latter historically the main source of high-rollers for junket operations in Macau – have led to a slump in junket business and to the end of many operations.
“With no junket operations, the rolling volume has come down quite significantly. But on the premium mass and mass levels, we are recovering quite well” compared to pre-pandemic levels, Mr Wong said.
He added: “The yield per costumer is better now, because with junket operations, the concessionaire gets less [revenue].”
A number of brokerages has recently been bullish about the revenue recovery pace of the Macau mass-market gambling segment relative to 2019.
May 29, 2023
May 29, 2023
May 29, 2023
May 29, 2023
May 29, 2023FBM, a maker of casino slot machines and an international specialist in electronic bingo machines, says it has delivered its first product in the United States. The firm said it had entered the...
(Click here for more)
”Even in the darkest moments of the pandemic, we’ve always said this market will come back strong… We’re big believers in Macau”
Chairman and chief executive of Las Vegas Sands