Whirl Pool episode 10: King of Macau Casinos

Posted: May 31, 2011 in Uncategorized

Episode 10:  King of Macau Casinos

Story by:   Alan Kaplan

Within a year of its opening in the main island of Macau, Silverstone Casino had ripped off 80% of mass gaming market in whole of Macau including the southern China region. The fact was, Silverstone had recouped all its USD240m investment for the casino property in just 11 months!

Just what happened to Lisboa? The ultimate test for the local casino that survive for the past 42 years was down to something in which they had forgotten – market. When Silverstone was so successfully in pulling in the entire mass market consumers (or patrons) to the American casino, Lisboa was left hanging dry… The fact was Lisboa had forgotten the basic casino marketing skill! Or rather, they never had such competency at all from the very beginning. When Lisboa was operating as the one and ONLY legalised casino in the territory Macau, there wasn’t a need for casino marketing. The only tagline was, “Take it or leave it”. But thing had changed in year 2004 onwards and its pace fast.

So, the long-standing Chinese based Casino in Macau launched its first ever big marketing campaign after 42 years of existence. It was dubbed as the “Char Siew Fung Campaign”. The marketing ploy adopted was plain simple as that; patrons to the casino with purchase of certain amount (value) of casino betting chips would be rewarded with a coupon for a bowl of roast-pork rice. Although this famous toast-port rice remains a delicacy of commoners in Guangdong province, but it didn’t pull it off successfully. The Silverstone Casino simply played the hands well. The American casino introduced its Las Vegas customer rewards system into this Chinese enclave with very attractive ‘players club’ point-earning system that was simply overwhelming. Yet the point rewards were highly efficient without huddle.

Within 6 months of implementing the players club point rewards system, Silverstone Casino had registered close to 300,000 player-members in its database. Of which, 35% of them were active patrons. Database marketing was the core element of Silverstone’s players club marketing strategy. In its first year of operation the casino had a budget of USD9m for marketing support & expenses, including players point-earning rewards. Both the marketing system & strategy were well-integrated for a huge mass market onslaught. That explains why the first American casino in Asia was such a resounding success. The American had ventured and attacked their new market with aggressiveness and precision systems. Macau casino landscape was never the same after Silverstone Casino stormed ashore on Macau ‘bridgehead’. Credit must be given to the American casino owner for his vision and guts.

With the broad stroke done by the first American casino in Asia – Macau, the way gaming products mix for the mass market has been completely changed. From then on, Asia casino operators need to provide a good mix of gaming products with value for money and be market-oriented. The truth of competition makes the market more exciting and fair for consumers.

Bravo! American casino Silverstone.

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