Macau billionaire Lui Che-Woo made his fortune by turning the Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd into the third largest casino enterprise in the world. The 86 year old chairman recently announced that his company was planning to develop a special family friendly theme park that will be based around the Avatar theme and have its own unique style to it.
Macau’s casino industry has collapsed during the last 24 months due to the anti-corruption crackdown launched by Beijing and Macau’s government has instructed casinos to no longer depend on the VIP segment but to focus on expanding their non-gaming offerings. This new development from Che-Woo will be part of the Galaxy Macau project’s next two phases which is estimated to cost around $11 billion.
According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Che-Woo is estimated to be worth around $7.3 billion and is ranked as the 10th richest man in Hong Kong. The Galaxy Entertainment company accounts for nearly 75 percent of his wealth which has nearly halved since 2014 as after Macau’s casino industry collapse.
The new theme park at the Galaxy Macau will not be as big as the Walt Disney Shanghai park, which is estimated to be around $5.5 billion, but will incorporate a number of unique features that will enable the Avatar style themed park to compete against some of the bigger theme parks in Mainland China.
Galaxy Entertainment also plans to construct another family oriented theme park at its non-gaming resort located on the island of Hengqin, which is situated between Macau and Zhuhai. This theme park will have modern water sports activities and a number of other unique features which are expected to be announced before the end of this year.
Galaxy Entertainment is not the first casino company to follow Macau’s instructions of expanding its non-gaming operations. Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd also made a number of changes to its Studio City casino resort which is based around a Hollywood theme and launched a marketing strategy that targets more mass market gamblers and families.
In a statement, Aaron Fischer, an analyst from CLSA Ltd, said “Theme parks are a great idea and Macau is desperate for more non-gaming attractions. These investments are in line with government demands so this will further strength relations and reduce the risk of the license not being renewed.”
Galaxy Macau has already committed to building a theatre that will be able to seat 3,000 and will be part of the phase two roll-out. The new theme park is a new addition that is expected to attract a large number of visitors but analysts state the returns from theme parks are generally very low. Fischer believes that Galaxy Entertainment would do well to add extra convention space and an additional 6,000 hotel rooms to its Galaxy Macau project as it will help to increase mid-week hotel occupancy percentages.