Big tussle among casinos in Macau

SOME of Las Vegas’ biggest casinos are extending the frontline of gaming market competition to Macau, the only place in China where casinos are legal. 

The Macau Gaming Co Ltd (SJM) lavished a job advertisement in all major newspapers in Macau this week offering 1,000 job vacancies. Insiders see it as a recruitment contest targeted at its two rivals, the Las Vegas-based Wynn Resort and Galaxy Casino, both of which are headhunting for casino workers in the second half of this year.  

The competition for enticing specialised casino workers has become fierce after the two overseas rivals entered Macau’s gaming market through a casino licence bidding held by the Macau Special Administrative Region government in March last year. 

Over 30,000 job-seekers turned up at Galaxy’s job interview fair earlier this month competing for 3,500 positions ranging from administration, game host and to catering and entertainment services. It is just the opportunity Macau has been expecting to upgrade the gaming industry.  

The University of Macau will open new subjects concerning gaming business in the coming semester while some higher education institutes will also provide training for casino employees by the end of this year. Under the company’s schedule, Galaxy Casino will open a Venetian-style hotel casino, estimated to cost US$550mil (RM2bil) in the first phase. 

The complex will be located in the Cotai land reclamation area between Taipa and Coloane Islands in Macau.  

Before the completion of the infrastructure construction in two years, Galaxy will run a small casino around the end of this year offering over 300 varieties of gaming items and 500 slot machines. 

The Wynn Resort will soon start construction of its amusement complex this month, which is the first-phase project scheduled to take seven to nine months with an investment of 4 billion patacas (RM220mil).  

Facing the challenge, SJM, which is the largest enterprise in Macau owned by tycoon Stanley Ho, has earmarked 4.7 billion patacas (RM2.2bil) to revamp its casinos and build new attractions. Its latest piece is the dazzling “Crystal Palace,” which came into stream in May. SJM is now busy preparing for an expansion of its flagship Hotel Lisboa, which houses the largest casino in Macau.  

SJM’s objective for the next five years is to corner 60% of the gaming market in Macau, said general manager Ambrose So. As the former Portuguese enclave, Macau has a history of over 150 years in gambling. 

It remains Asia’s unrivalled casino centre after its return to China in December 1999. However, competition is emerging with the growing number of casinos throughout Asia. “Given its own long experience in the gambling industry, and its unique cultural characteristics of East and West, Macau will continue to survive as a favourite place,” said Ho, who had monopolised Macau’s gaming industry for 40 years. – People’s Daily. 

For Another perspective from the China Daily, a partner of Asia News Network, click here

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