Initiated by local gaming magnate Stanley Ho, the executives of the six licensed gaming operators in Macao met Monday to discuss the establishment of a new chamber of gaming companies.
This was the first time for the six gaming operators, namely SJM (Sociedade de Jogos de Macao), Galaxy Casino, Venetian Macao, Wynn Resorts (Macau), Melco Crown (Macao), and MGM Grand Paradise, to meet voluntarily ever since local gaming sector were open to foreign investment in 2002.
The representatives of the six operators were very "cooperative" when it comes to the topic, and they all agree to establish a new chamber of gaming companies as soon as possible, said Stanley Ho who also attended the meeting personally, adding that a consensus of him being the president of the new chamber was also reached during the meeting.
The move came when global financial crisis hurt the growth of casino revenues in the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) of China. Las Vegas Sands, which owns Venetian Macao, has halted its ambitious casino project of rebuilding a Las Vegas Strip in Macao, as financing became more difficult amid the credit crunch, and many casino companies in the city also started to lay off part of their employees, starting last year.
The forming of a casino guild will strengthen the communications among the operators and between them and the SAR government, which will benefit the whole gaming sector, said Lawrence Ho, co-chairman and chief executive officer of Melco Crown. He is also the son of Stanley Ho, who owns the SJM.
Macao, the only place in China where gambling is legal, has 31 casinos so far, 19 of which are run by SJM, according to the SAR's Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. Before the meeting, the SJM and Las Vegas Sands, which hold the No.1 and No. 2 positions respectively in terms of market share, have long been at odds with each other, when it comes to issues such as the VIP gambling commission rates, gaming table numbers, and ferry routes between Macao and Hong Kong.