With industry experts expressing fears over the push of anti-corruption by Chinese officials and the combined financial slowdown of Macau’s gaming revenues for the quarter, Australian operators are now looking to crank up the gears to draw heavyweight Asian gamblers and Chinese premium players.
Macau’s casinos have been taking a beating over the last month, with revenues down almost 15% due to the lack of action from Chinese high rollers, and Australia’s most profitable casinos are doing more than just bracing for impact.
On the contrary, Crown Resorts Limited, Australia’s largest casino operator, recently released their numbers in gaming revenue, reporting that revenues from their VIP programs have actually been up in comparison to the previous year by as much as 55%, to hit $51 billion.
Many of the Aussie operators are now beefing up their marketing game to continue to draw the whales of the South Pacific to their floors. Although concern remains over ultimately losing funds, operators are nevertheless using their best efforts to continue to ride the waves of revenue.
Star Entertainment Group
One such company is Star Entertainment Group, one of Australia’s biggest gaming and entertainment groups, and they are looking to introduce new Chinese-based branding campaigns, in order to cater to the needs of Chinese gamblers.
Their latest campaign includes having the company’s Chinese name displayed under its formidable logo. Instead of promoting Star Harbour City, the company has translated some of the names of their properties, with this particular location changed to Millions of Stars in Chinese.
Matt Bekier, Star Entertainment’s CEO and acting manager, released in an announcement that he is keen to take a large piece of the booming Asian market, specifically in regards to tourism. The company’s focus is to target mainland tourists from China whom frequently travel abroad.
The statement read, “The previous brand was really only identifiable for Sydney, and certainly less prestigious, distinctive and dynamic than the one we will now present to Asian markets,” adding, “There is a global arms race at present with countries investing heavily and repositioning themselves to capitalize on substantial tourism growth out of Asia, particularly from China. By presenting ourselves as an integrated resort company where the finest hotels, restaurants, theatre shows, music acts and other entertainment options are available within single precincts in prime locations, we can provide a compelling point of differentiation.”
A war of numbers
Bekier is referring to the current trade war, taking place between the Chinese market and the United States, an ally of Australia, imposed by President Trump’s administration. Over a one-year period, Australia reported nearly 9 million tourists to country of which over an eighth were from China.
Within the coming decade, Australian tourism officials anticipate that as many as 15 million tourists could frequent the region annually, with nearly 4 million of these being Chinese. The estimation does not reflect repeating visitors. It is now up to top casino operators such as Star Entertainment to push their efforts to not only market toward Chinese high rollers and frequent players, but to cater to their payment platforms.
For example, the Star Sydney, another Star Entertainment property, now accepts China UnionPay, WeChat Pay and Alipay as valid methods of deposit and withdrawal for its gambling operations. Such efforts are intended to make the Aussie location more enticing, as well as compatible to Chinese tourists’ money transactions.
This clear “China strategy” has the potential to prove most profitable for the Australian tourism sector, and the combined investment of Chinese branding as well as custom services are the key to the success of the country’s gambling and entertainment operators.
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