Copyright 2017. American In Macau. All Rights Reserved. 

VEGASIZATION OF MACAU

Published January 12, 2017 in Macau Business Daily


The world is watching how Macau will improve its gaming economy. The “Las Vegasization” of Macau is a trending opinion, but will it work with the traditions of Chinese culture?


Bo Bernhard, executive director of UNLV’s International Gaming Institute, and one of the world’s leading gaming academics, recently coined the phrase “Las Vegasization,” meaning ‘the growth of nongaming revenue as part of the total resort experience, a phenomenon that picked up steam in Southern Nevada in the late 1990s and has been expanding ever since,’ as reported by the Las Vegas Review Journal.
It’s no secret that casinos in Macau are rapidly attempting to secure non-gaming revenue after the government’s diversification mandate, but the mere offering of these amenities has not shown to be overly successful with the large masses of tourists that visit Macau, or with locals. I think the major component in truly attracting patrons to non-gaming activities like shows, family friendly entertainment, dining, shopping, and attractions will be targeting the next generation.


Bernard further stated, “Now, the obvious observation here is that younger generations have never been huge gamblers when compared with older generations – but we do see significant millennial expenditures in other parts of the facility, such as the nightclubs. As such, it could well be that this time is different – and that this time, the younger generation continues to feel an aversion to traditional gambling games, even as they age into cohorts when they traditionally embrace more sedentary activities like casino gambling.”


Having relocated to Macau in 2015 after spending ten years living in Las Vegas, I see Macau’s Cotai Strip looking more like Vegas every day, with the Eiffel Tower, the dancing fountains of Wynn Palace, newly placed MGM lions, and shopping options. I will go out on a limb, however, and say that I don’t think the two cities will ever be the same because they are too culturally diverse. Macau could, however, change a few things to be more successful at drawing in a younger market and more international tourists, as opposed to the bulk of visitors coming from the mainland Chinese market – offering complimentary alcoholic beverages, sodas and mocktails to active gambling patrons could be a start. By presenting only tea and water for gamblers, I think the casinos are missing opportunities. Once Macau is seen as more of a “party and entertainment scene”, I think more North American and European tourists will make the journey East.


Perhaps this atmosphere is not the ultimate goal for Macau but, in my opinion, it would open more doors.