Date
22 November 2017
NagaCorp aims to lure more Chinese premium-mass gamblers by offering them VIP treatment, says executive director Philip Lee (second right). Photo: HKEJ
NagaCorp aims to lure more Chinese premium-mass gamblers by offering them VIP treatment, says executive director Philip Lee (second right). Photo: HKEJ

NagaCorp vies with Macau for Chinese ‘premium-mass’ punters

NagaCorp Ltd. (03918.HK), the sole licensed casino operator in Cambodia, is forging ties with more junket operators as it seeks to compete with Macau for the so-called premium-mass gamblers from mainland China.

The company expects to join hands with two more junket operators in the coming two months, after partnering with Asian Nations and SunCity last year, chief financial officer and executive director Philip Lee said.

Mainland-based Asian Nations has helped to bring in rolling chip volume of US$627 million since the cooperation started last August, while Macau-based SunCity is also seen contributing significantly when its initiatives officially start in the first half of the year, Lee said in Hong Kong Thursday.

“We give better commercial terms to the junket operators, better than what they get in Macau, so there is a bigger incentive for them,” the executive said.

Mike Ngai, chief marketing officer for Southeast Asia, added that discussions are underway with a total of four junket operators for potential partnership.

Higher profits are promised in an incentive program for bigger junket groups, compared to a commission scheme in the case of smaller groups, he said.

NagaCorp, which operates the flagship casino resort Naga World in Phnom Penh, saw its gross gaming revenue climb 23 percent year-on-year to US$381 million for 2014.

Macau’s gaming revenue, meanwhile, had fallen 2.6 percent to US$44 billion in the same period.

NagaCorp’s tie-ups with junket operators in Macau come at a time when falling revenues in the VIP segment and the closure of some VIP rooms have forced some junket organizers to become jobless.

Junket operator David Group announced last month that it was shuttering three of its seven rooms and that it will cut some staff.

As China’s anti-graft campaign widens, the number of licensed junket operators went down to 186 from 218 last year, according figures from Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.

Lee said NagaCorp’s VIP treatment for premium mass players from China offers the firm some competitive edge over Macau casinos. 

“The lower-end VIP players; may be they are premium-mass players in Macau, but when they come to Naga, they are treated as VIP,” he said.

Cambodia’s rich cultural heritage, including the world-famous Angkor Wat temple complex, will also enhance the appeal of the country for mainland visitors, he said.

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JH/JP/RC

EJ Insight reporter

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