Wynn Macau revamps VIP rooms for mass market

By Mia Chapman Updated
Wynn Macau revamps VIP rooms for mass market

The decline of junkets has seen Wynn Macau opt to convert its VIP rooms for mass market use.

Asia Gaming Brief reports that Wynn was one of three operations identified as winding up their junket operated rooms after the arrest of Suncity’s Alvin Chau in early December.

Executive director of Wynn Macau Linda China said the decision was conducive to the long-term and healthy development of Macau.

She noted that the mass market represented Wynn’s core business, accounting for 75 per cent of its total gaming revenues and said going forward, they would be focused on developing the segment and converting its VIP rooms for “mass market uses” and “diversified experience facilities”.

In November, industry expert Ben Lee theorised that the shift away from VIP and junkets would lead to a surplus of plush-carpeted, crystal-chandeliered VIP rooms.

“They will need to turn them into other spaces,” Lee said.

“It will be the next logical step in the evolution of our market.”

He suggested that one potential idea to consider is that the facilities might be tailor-made to cater for China’s booming wedding market.

Westar Architects International managing director Lee Montaina also previously discussed what Macau operators might do with their excess VIP gaming space, though he said he doesn’t expect operators to make significant changes until after the retendering of concessions in 2022.

Junkets still have a future in Macau, Economy Secretary said

The fall of Suncity and the perceived “end of junkets” is not a view shared by Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance.

Macau instead welcomes junket operators as long as they fulfil all legal requirements.

“We have a legal framework that allows for the relationship between gaming operators and junkets if everything is done according to the law,” Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong said.

However, he underlined that junket operators would need to be mindful when they carry out gambling promotion activities that they are respecting Macau regulations and those of the country in which they are operating.

Following the arrest of Chau, several casino concessionaires, including Wynn Macau, Sands China and Melco Resorts announced they would be gradually closing VIP rooms run by junkets from December 20, though SJM and Galaxy have reportedly kept their agreements.

Tak Chun Group confirmed in early December that several casinos had temporarily suspended agreements with them.

Nong also noted that local authorities had received notifications from gaming concessionaires that adjustments have been made to their agreements with junket operators, but said they were awaiting more detail of the adjustments.

In 2021, Macau licensed 85 junket operators.

Aussie casino stocks slide after Chau arrest

Following the news that a major junket operator was arrested in Macau, stocks in Star Entertainment and Crown Resorts fell into the red to start the trading week.

When Chinese police took into custody Suncity Group chief executive Alvin Chau, whose company features heavily in critical New South Wales and Victorian probes into Crown, and he has reportedly confessed to establishing overseas gambling platforms and carrying out illegal virtual betting acts.

The news sent shares in Macau-based casinos tumbling as much as 10 per cent.

Mr Chau’s Suncity was bringing overseas high rollers to both Crown and Star’s Australian facilities before COVID-19 paused international travel and regulatory interventions killed the junket industry for local casinos.

A New South Wales inquiry into Crown heard evidence that the company had due diligence dossiers that linked Mr Chau to the 14K triad gang and other alleged illegal activities and continued to do business with Suncity.

“Mr Chau appears to have been a former member of 14K triad’s Macau branch and was reportedly in charge of loan sharking and gambling,” an excerpt of a Wealth-X report read to the inquiry said.

“A little further down Chau started his own gang,” the report continued.

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