Macau’s casino industry has experienced three consecutive months of increase in its gross gaming revenues (GGR) and gaming analysts believe that the biggest gambling hub in the world is finally experiencing a turnaround. Melco Crown, one of the six major gaming operators in Macau, is being extra cautious with its market promotions after 18 Crown Resort employees were arrested in China during the month of October for breaching gambling laws.
Crown Resorts is the biggest shareholder in the Melco Crown venture and has a 27 percent stake in the company. Crown employees were arrested after they were alleged to have promoted and advertised gambling services in a bid to attract VIP Chinese gamblers to Australian casino resorts. Melco Crown is taking extra precautions to ensure that none of its marketing material will breach gambling laws in China.
In a statement, Lawrence Ho, chairman and chief executive officer Melco Crown said “I think Melco Crown and our efforts in China, our marketing efforts has always been in compliance with the rules and regulations. And of course with the latest incident with Crown, we have been even more mindful, and we have relooked at all of our standard operating procedures to make sure we are extra cautious and careful.”
There have been reports that the authorities have seized Crown Resort’s VIP customer list in China which has caused Crown’s high-rollers to be upset as they can now be targeted by the authorities. Ho stated that it is possible that some of Melco Crown’s VIP gamblers will be hesitant to visit their casinos in light of the recent arrests and allegations but admitted that it was too soon for the company to predict if it will have a negative impact on VIP revenues going forward.
Melco Crown operates a number of casinos in Macau including the City of Dreams, Altira Macau, Mocha Clubs and Studio City. Macau gaming authorities had earlier met with all six major casino operators and instructed them to be careful that none of their properties violate any gambling laws. Gaming analysts also believe that the recent arrest in China will not have much of an impact on Macau’s casino industry as they targeted promotional activities related to gambling in overseas casinos.
Melco Crown released its third quarter financial results which showed that the company made $945.7 million in revenue during the third quarter of 2015 and went up to $1.15 billion during the third quarter of 2016. The company had a profit of $33.2 million in the second quarter of 2016 and that went up to$62 million in the third quarter, which was close to a fifty percent increase. Melco Crown stated that its strong performance in the third quarter was due to a focus on mass market gamblers by Studio City and an increase in revenues from its City of Dreams Manila casino.