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“ETGs are bridging the gaps between


tables and slots - you want to bring people over to slot machines, and you also pull off people who clog up the tables.” As the new machines gain a grip in


Macau they are also borrowing some of the more compelling elements of the table games themselves, including trend play, according to Mr Wu. “If you look at real baccarat tables they all have trend screens. If you look at new ETGs they all show trend screens too, whether its Sic Bo or baccarat or roulette.” T e increase in ETGs in Macau


has posed some regulatory challenges. Recently, the local regulator ordered gaming operators to reduce payouts on their semi-automated and fully automated electronic sic bo tables to the same level as those for live sic bo tables. T e ruling means payouts must be uniform for any given table game, regardless of whether it is played on a live table, partial or fully electronic table. T is was not always the case before.


they inadvertently created this buzz about electronic table games (ETGs) as well.”


Bridging the gaps Now, with the burgeoning market in Macau rapidly approaching a 5,500 table overall cap, from which ETGs are exempt, suppliers and operators are looking to the machines not just to swerve the limits, but to add new gaming choices to the increasingly busy mass market properties. According to Pete Wu, vice president


of operations at Sands Macau, “the huge success of ETGs in Singapore drove our decision to implement more ETGs on the fl oor in Macau.


Food and play Catherine Burns, managing director and vice president Asia Pacifi c for Bally Technologies Inc., noted that inevitably the sheer volume of baccarat betting meant slots were, “getting a bit overshadowed by the US$23 billion (MOP184 billion) of revenue versus just US$1 billion of slots revenues ... but there are some companies – Wynn is a key example, as is MGM – that are seeing US$300- 600 per day in net machine win, and that’s a pretty outstanding result for any slot fl oor anywhere in the world.” Ms Burns also noted that machines are


proving less intimidating for some Asian players who do not want the pressure of table game play. “Some players are very extrovert and they want to have that experience – others are very introverted and they don’t want people surrounding them – they just want to be with the machine.” T e new ETGs are also being integrated


into gaming fl oors that are far more closely aligned to what Asian players are craving. IGamiX Consulting’s Mr Lee said: “What we’re seeing now is a full circle – a return to a focus on


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gambling and the supporting facilities that enable the customers to concentrate on the core off ering which is gambling. “Galaxy Macau to me is the epitome


of what the Chinese gamblers want – they are not interested in entertainment, they are not interested in shops, what they want is a very good gambling facility and everything is very accessible, and most importantly they have a wide variety of F&B outlets that are in close proximity to the gaming fl oor.” Consequently, as the Macau mass


market shiſt s and grows, slot fl oors are being constantly redesigned by teams of specialists. Sands Macao’s Mr Wu said: “T ere is an incentive to add slots and in the end it is a fi nancial decision to play with the fl oor – you can test and control and move things around; and one thing that has changed on these fl oors is a focus on analytics – as these casinos have grown we’ve become more focused on analytics to optimise under- utilised space. “Some of the busiest areas on our


fl oors are the ones that are closest to the noodle shops and the bathrooms,” Mr Wu says. But one characteristic element of


Macau’s market – its heavy VIP bias – is not going away completely even in the machine world, according to Mr Wu, who says that so-called high roller slots, with stakes of HK$5,000 per spin and upwards, are fast gaining in popularity. He notes that VIP slots, while taking


up only 10 percent of the machine fl oor area at the Wynn, already provide 65 percent of machine handle. “T at is an untapped market that


is only just beginning to evolve,” says Mr Wu. “People get tired of the tables and they are looking for that big win. In these VIP rooms you see jackpots hitting for US$500,000, US$700,000, a million leſt and right.” Bally’s Ms Burns too confi rms that


in the small, exclusive VIP slots rooms, “life changing events are happening across the board and if you’re not pushing product towards that you are absolutely missing out.” *Exclusive Gambling Compliance/Macau Business


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