23 March 2019
ASL's Henry Hui is pitching to integrate baccarat score boards with mobile devices.
ASL's Henry Hui is pitching to integrate baccarat score boards with mobile devices.

ASL bets on the Baccarat craze in Macau

Life is certainly getting more comfortable for the high-rollers in Macau. After being pampered with things such as limos, gourmet cuisine and private shopping, VIP gamblers will now have help from new technology to make easier bets on casino floors. Facilitating this is a Hong Kong-based company, Automated Systems Holdings (ASL, 00771.HK).     

ASL will soon help VIP gamblers in Macau use mobile devices such as iPads to track betting records at hundreds of Baccarat tables, enabling the players to choose their tables in a more informed way or go for what they deem as lucky options, according to the firm’s chief executive Henry Hui.

The company is lobbying the casinos to integrate their Baccarat score boards (BSB) with mobile devices, especially if the firms seek to provide more value-added services for their VIP clients, Hui told EJ Insight in an interview.

“They [gamblers] can log in with the ipad and see the gambling records at many tables. They can then decide which one they like,” he said. “They do not have to go to take a look at every table.”

Launched in 2006, the BSB is a screen displaying the past rounds of betting results for gamblers to track the “trend” of the card games, so that gamblers can have some seemingly rational basis to place their bets after they make their own little calculations in probability.

Macau is the first place in the world where the BSB system has been applied, as Baccarat is most popular among the Chinese. But the system has become so popular that a US client has introduced it in casinos in Las Vegas, Hui said.

At present, about 3,000 of Macau’s 5,700 gambling tables, involving four of the six gaming concessionaires, are using the BSB.

The boards are installed at every Baccarat table, while bigger screens showing the gambling results of all the tables can also be seen in the casino parlor.

ASL can display the data from several tables on the bigger screens, instead of a lone record. Anyone can keep track on hundreds of gambling tables at a time and monitor the trend, Hui said.

Apart from BSB, ASL also generates maintenance fee from another gaming solution in the casinos – playing card management system (PCMS). The company has 80 percent market share in the PCMS segment, involving five casino operators, in Macau.

Launched in 2006, the same year as BSB, the PCMS manages all the poker cards – 10,000 sets of playing cards every day in a casino – from procurement, registry and destruction of the pokers.

It can track and store up information about the “life-cycle” of every unique set of cards and help prevent human tampering during processing. The system can also help reduce the manpower requirement by a third, Hui said.

New opportunities

ASL is hoping to improve its profits by riding on the opportunities of the ongoing casino projects in Macu’s Cotai district. Hui is confident his existing clients will continue to adopt the two systems in their new casinos when the facilities are ready in a few years, giving a fresh boost to the company’s revenue from the gaming solutions business in Macau.

“The gambling industry in Macau is buoyant… We are very confident about our business in Macau,” Hui said, adding that the company has “recently obtained a sizable order from an integrated gaming resort in Cotai to provide them with core network infrastructure.”

It is a niche market for us, the profit is good… We will not let go of any opportunity in Macau and the Greater China region, he said.

Founded in Hong Kong in 1973, ASL posted a net profit of HK$17.3 million last year, down 58.1 percent from the previous year, as revenue fell 3.6 percent to HK$ 1.61 billion.

The slide in net profit was mainly due to unexpectedly-high delivery costs of a big business contract, the company said in an regulatory filing.

More than 80 percent of ASL’s revenue comes from Hong Kong, while mainland China and Macau account for only about 4.2 percent and 3.5 percent. Other markets include Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand. ASL’s ultimate holding company is Beijing Teamsun Technology Co. (600410.CN).

Hui said ASL is in discussions with overseas casinos, including players who will open facilities in the Philippines, to adopt the company’s gaming management systems.

He is also confident that casinos in Japan will be interested in ASL’s systems if the Japanese government grants gaming licenses. New operators will naturally refer to the business model in Macau, the largest gambling hub in the world, Hui said.

– Contact the writer at [email protected]



EJ Insight reporter

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