Macau’s new junket-run VIP slot room sees slow start

Macau’s first junket run VIP slot room, located at the Jimei Casino, is already lowering its membership fee less than a month after opening, according to a Bloomberg Report.

The SJM Holdings-licensed Jimei Casino was the first to host a junket-run VIP slot parlor in the special administrative region, opening its doors with 130 machines in mid-January. Analysts said the opening of the slot parlour was an indication of an increasingly tough time for junket operators, who were “very much in need of revenue and willing to try an idea that in a different era would likely not have even been considered,” said Union Gaming at the time.

At the time Union Gaming said it would be tough for a business such as this to attract and retain players based solely on having VIP slots on offer.

This looks to be the case according to a recent visit from Bloomberg Business, which found the room was already ready to give up the HK$100,000 (US$12,854) membership required for play only a week after the official opening in January. VIP room employees were seen announcing machines were accepting spins as low as HK$1.

The rooms’ operator, Zhang Zheng  remains confident the VIP room will do well, given the competition, and said that the traditional VIP room was in a similar boat already. “Operating a traditional baccarat VIP room can barely make profit these days,” said Zhang in a quote to Bloomberg, “I am confident the VIP slots room can perform well because it faces less competition.”

Junkets in Macau are expected to face more closures this year as the VIP gaming slump continues and junkets look to move to greener pastures. Last year, more than 30 VIP rooms closed in just four months alone.