Macau’s Jimei Casino wanted to implement a new marketing strategy to boost its revenues in 2016 by launching an exclusive VIP slot room that would cater to high rollers and enlist the services of junket operators to make its new Grand Prize VIP Club a success.
The casino, which operates under an SJM Holdings-license, launched in January 2016 and has a total of 130 slot machines. The club decided to run a membership program to attract junkets and high level gamblers, but appears to have had a rather slow start as it discovered that both VIP gamblers and junket operators were not too keen to experiment with slots.
Macau’s casinos have earned more than fifty percent of their gross gaming revenues from its VIP marketing segment and relied heavily on junkets to keep bringing these high rollers across. However these VIP gamblers from Mainland China have always been interested in playing high stakes baccarat and have never really shown an inclination for slot machines.
The anti-corruption crackdown by Beijing has significantly reduced the number of junket operators and VIP gamblers in Macau and the Jimei Casino wanted to see if its new VIP slot machine room could change the trend. After less than a month of operations, the casino has confirmed that it has decided to reduce its membership fees in an effort to bring in more clients.
The club was earlier pushing for a HK$100,000 membership fee but the lack of clients forced the club to drop its membership fee structure and is now willing to allow clients to play the slot machines for spins starting from HK$1.
Zhang Zheng who is responsible for operations at the VIP slots room, remains confident that the new concept will gather momentum in the months to come and turn out to be a success. In a statement, Zheng said “Operating a traditional baccarat VIP room can barely make profit these days. I am confident the VIP slots room can perform well because it faces less competition.”
Analysts from Union Gaming had earlier predicted that Jimei’s concept of a VIP slot room would be a hard concept to sell and it appears their predictions are turning out right. The fact that the number of junket operators in Macau continues to shrink at a rapid pace is another cause for concern for the Jimei casino, as the new club is depending on junkets to sell its VIP slot room concept and bring in a steady stream of high rollers. Macau’s casino shutdown over 30 junket VIP rooms during the last four months and things continue to look bleak for junkets in 2016.