Macau is the new Vegas. Actually, it’s bigger than Vegas, raking in an estimated $45 billion in gambling revenue, which is around seven times more than the Las Vegas casinos earn. Big casino names like Wynn, MGM, and the Sands in turn have raced to build the most fabulous, luxurious options, with resorts that would attract highest rollers.
But there is another segment of the market that likes to gamble too. For players with less money to spend, a budget option—without all the bells and whistles—holds great appeal. Thus the Kam Pek casino charges for every drink, and it provides only bare-bones sleeping accommodations. But it also allows gamblers to buy into a game for a little as the equivalent of about US$2.50. In the luxury casinos, minimum buy-ins instead tend to run at least US$100.
These aspects are not the only thing setting Kam Pek apart. To celebrate the Lunar New Year, the best customers in the high-end casinos vied for the chance to win international plane tickets and tours. The VIPs at Kam Pek looked forward to the prospect of being rewarded by dried seafood. Yet it attracts around 13,000 visitors each day. Most of those visitors commute from Mainland China; others come from Korea and Taiwan, and some are local.
To keep its costs low, Kam Pek relies heavily on technology. Rather than assigning a unique baccarat dealer to each table, it grants each player an individual screen. One dealer then deals, for dozens of players at a time. Each player sees his or her own cards and the dealer’s, on the personalized video screen. Because one dealer can handle up to 100 players, the labor costs for Kam Pek are far lower than those in other countries.
Source: Kate O’Keeffe, “The Cheapest, Richest Casino in Macau,” The Wall Street Journal, February 5, 2014