Suncity Group is a Macau junket investor who recently announced that new VIP gaming clubs are coming to casino resorts in Cotai. The investor will be launching clubs at the Grand Lisboa Palace and the Londoner Macao.
Preparing to Launch
Suncity Group confirmed the new additions to GGRAsia, stating the brand plans to control operating costs by adjusting the workforce to handle the upcoming openings of the new clubs. The Londoner Macao is a Sands China Ltd property that just recently was rebranded and renovated. On February 8, this property completed its first-phase launch, right before the Chinese New Year began.
For Grand Lisboa Palace, a property operated by SJM Holdings Ltd, operations should begin during the first half of this year. In an email to GGRAsia, Suncity Group confirmed that it does not have any plans to lay off staff members from its VIP clubs. However, they did not say if any other clubs in the Macau region would close as it adjusts the current workforce for the new club openings.
Junket Operators Scaling Back
At a time when SunCity Group is preparing to offer more VIP operations, Macau is seeing a decrease in the number of licensed junket operators in the region. This year, the number was down to 85, with only 77 gaming rooms hosted and just over 1,500 gaming tables.
The Secretary for Economy and Finance Lei Wai Nong announced late last month that the structure of the gaming industry has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The proportion of gaming income from VIP gaming compared to mass-market gaming is now drastically different.
In late January, Mr. Nong said that the number of VIP gaming clubs will continue to decrease due to the pandemic. At the time, the prediction was made in response to news by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau containing the number of clubs in operation. A total of 10 licensed junket operators closed last year and the number continues to decline at a steady pace.
Even though the figures are low, Mr. Nong reported that his office will still be committed to maintaining as well as improving the service and stability levels of the VIP sector in the region. This will continue even though social distancing and travel restrictions have been an issue.
He said that the priority is to prevent as well as control the pandemic so that travel issues are not a problem. With players being able to travel with ease, instead of held back by restrictions, it creates a steady traffic flow for casinos in Macau.