If you want to measure the pulse of the global casino business, you have to have your eye on Macau.
Or you can just keep tabs on Jason Ader and he’ll keep you up to date. Ader’s an award winning former gaming analyst who now serves as the Director of Las Vegas Sands and runs his own hedge fund, Ader Investments.
He just got back from a trip across the world to a place where casinos are still King, and this is what he saw.
“Banking issues… the slowing economy, you wouldn’t believe it walking around the casino in Macau,” Ader said, adding “everybody in Macau seems to be enjoying prosperity for the time being… I just see a whole lot more demand than supply in the next 18-24 months.”
It helps that the government limits how many tables can be on a casino floor, he pointed out.
But onto specifics — the hot new game Asia’s gamblers are going wild for is Fast Action Baccarat, which launched at The Venetian Macau at the end of last year. Ader says he saw a crowd of 250 Filipino and Thai women playing, screaming, fighting, and yelling around a table.
In short, they were going nuts, and a security guard told him that this kind of stuff happens all the time.
In Macau, it’s all about Asia’s middle class. Cranes are in the air everywhere pulling up not just casinos, but also hotels, water parks, and anything else for the kids that can round out the middle class family vacation experience.
This is obviously a big contrast to the U.S., where gambling centres like Las Vegas and Atlantic City have competition from Native American casinos, river boats and more. Additionally, the specter of online gambling is looming extremely large. Ader told CNBC that online gambling is “probably the single worst threat to land-based casinos that I’ve seen in 20-plus years.”
So what’s Las Vegas doing about it? They’re catering to more than just gamblers. Las Vegas casinos are now competing to book the hottest DJs and build most luxe clubs to attract 20-something revelers looking for a weekend getaway.
Meanwhile, the brains behind these operations are watching Asia to see what they can bring home to keep the industry innovative.
“The wagering [in Macau] happens very fast and with a lot of volume so if it works there it’ll work here,” Ader said.
Awesome. We’ll be brushing up on our baccarat.
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