Macau serves as Asia’s top gambling haven but for all its allure, it’s lacking in broader tourist appeal. According to MGM CEO Grant Bowie, Macau needs another ten years to achieve Las Vegas-style status with exhibitions, convention halls, and wholesome entertainment. As it stands, 95% of profits are created by gambling–compare that with its progenitor which generates more than 50% of its sales from non-casino related transactions.
Pansy Ho, the daughter of gambling tycoon Stanley Ho and shareholder of MGM said “People do not go to Macau for non-gaming activities. It needs more facilities in terms of hotel rooms and infrastructure,” including a connection to China’s high-speed rail network and a bridge to Hong Kong.”
A Bloomberg report echoed that sentiment:
[T]he average length of stay for Macau visitors was 1.7 days at the end of 2010, indicating that many players spend their money on the tables then head back home. The majority of visitors are Chinese day trippers who are bused to the Macau border….
That being said, Macau is nothing to scoff at. If we’re keeping up the comparison, Las Vegas needed 25-30 years to become what it is today so Macau is on track. While it could use some diversifying, it already quadruples the earnings of Las Vegas casinos with revenues last year up 58% to 188 billion patacas.