Service quality in a sample of Macau casinos – including the work done by table games dealers – has declined so far this year when compared to 2017, according to the latest edition of the Macau Gaming Service Index, a subjective analysis based on findings by “mystery-shopper” style researchers.
The survey team compiling the index – whose findings extend from January to the end of November rather than a full calendar year – also concluded that service quality in Cotai casinos was generally better than that in downtown venues on Macau peninsula. The survey researchers are said to have visited 15 casinos that encompass the operations of all six Macau casino operators.
The index’s service quality reading for the stub fourth quarter this year was 2.29 points, down from 2.37 points in the prior-year period, which was also a stub fourth quarter. The index is on a scale where zero is considered the worst-quality service and 3.5 the highest.
The index is compiled by the Macau Gaming Research Association and conducted by SGS Hong Kong Ltd. Undercover assessors rated staff in 15 casinos on their “smile”, “proactive attitude” and “tolerance”. The latter category was identified as measuring the level of patience staff had when interacting with clients. The survey has been conducted on a quarterly basis since 2013.
The latest survey measured seven services inside casinos: the cage; cloakrooms; table game dealers; the membership desk; security; the shuttle bus system and slot machine attendants. Since 2017, the researchers have divided their assessment into two: one part covering the Cotai casino resorts, and the other the traditional downtown gaming district of Macau peninsula.
The service quality readings measured on the sub-index regarding “smile”, “proactive attitude” and “tolerance” across Cotai casinos were generally higher than that in Macau peninsula casinos in calendar year 2018 up to and including the stub fourth quarter, a trend consistent with the 2017 survey.
The quality of services provided by table games dealers – the job type with the largest sample size for analysis compared to other gaming floor positions – reached a reading of 1.87 points for this year, down by 17.62 percent when compared to the reading of 2.27 points in 2017, according to the research findings.
Dealer smiles wane
The service quality reading for table games dealers on the three sub-indexes have all declined so far this year when compared to the prior-year period. The sub-index measuring “smile” showed the biggest decline. That for dealers was 0.59 points for 2018, down by almost 30 percent when compared to the 0.84 points reached in 2017.
The service quality reading for the seven casino services measured all declined this year when compared to 2017, except that for slot machine departments. The latter’s index reached 2.59 points, a slight improvement when compared to 2017, mainly driven by better “proactive” attitude, according to the research.
The venues covered were: Grand Lisboa, the Lisboa, the Jai Alai and Oceanus complex (all SJM Holdings Ltd); Wynn Palace and Wynn Macau (Wynn Macau Ltd); MGM Macau and MGM Cotai (MGM China Holdings Ltd); Sands Macao, the Venetian Macao and the Parisian Macao (all Sands China Ltd); Galaxy Macau, StarWorld Hotel (Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd); and City of Dreams, Studio City and Altira (Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd).
In compiling the gaming service index for 2018, the researchers were said to have collected a total of 1,720 observation samples, of which 920 involved interactions with dealers. The 2017 survey had collected a total of 2,400 samples, of which 1,440 samples involved interaction with table games dealers. The reason for the year-to-year discrepancy in sample size had to do with a budget down-adjustment, according to the research team.
The 2018 research did not contain any qualitative analysis regarding possible reasons for the changes seen in the service quality readings compared to 2017.
The survey team told GGRAsia that the service quality index project aimed to offer casino operators a reference for their own internal assessment of staff performance.
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