Galaxy Macau Expansion Devoted Almost Entirely to Non-Gaming

Posted on: March 28, 2017, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: March 28, 2017, 11:16h.

Galaxy Macau is readying to commence construction on the resort’s third and fourth phases, but the multibillion-dollar expansion won’t add much square footage in terms of gaming space.

Galaxy Macau non-gaming Lui Che Woo
Billionaire Lui Che Woo says the next two expansions at Galaxy Macau will focus on the non-gaming guest. (Image: Forbes)

In its 2016 annual report, which was filed just last week, Galaxy Entertainment reveals some of the blueprints for its five-star flagship resort based on the Cotai Strip. The Hong-Kong-based company hopes to commence construction on phase three in the late first quarter or early second quarter of 2017.

Citing Macau’s “Tourism Industry Plan,” which aims to make the gambling city less reliant on gaming revenue in favor of the mass market, Galaxy says its additions will be used for entertainment and recreational activities.

“Galaxy Entertainment continues to move forward with Phases 3 and 4 . . . with virtually all floor areas allocated to non-gaming and primarily targeting MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions),” Galaxy Chairman Lui Che Woo said in the report.

Mass Appeal

Galaxy Macau opened in May of 2011 at a cost of HK$16.5 billion ($2.1 billion). The resort at the time featured over 2,200 rooms across three hotels.

From its beginning, Galaxy Macau has been more focused on a wider demographic of guests compared to other companies invested in the region. When the venue opened now almost six years ago, it came with over 50 food and beverage outlets, a vast garden oasis, and a 43,000-square-foot Skytop Wave Pool, the world’s largest rooftop pool.

The second phase, completed in 2015 at a cost of $5.5 billion, doubled the property’s size and invested in additional family attractions. Three new hotels were added including the Broadway Hotel, which is kid-friendly, and 200 retail stores opened up shop.

Galaxy Entertainment says the budget for phases three and four will be no less than $5.5 billion.

Vegas Blueprint

Gaming companies in Macau are undergoing a renovation of sorts as China continues to restrict VIP touring companies from bringing mainlanders to the special gambling zone. After allegations of money laundering arose, People’s Republic President Xi Jinping instructed law enforcement agencies to begin cracking down on the junkets.

Resorts have begun slowly adjusting their marketing focus to the more middle-class traveler and businessman, and ideally, the vacationer. Macau is trying to hype the region as not only a gambling epicenter, but also a locale with much more to offer than just slots and table games.

The shift is being dubbed the “Las Vegasization” of Macau, the notion of casinos focusing on non-gaming patrons. UNLV International Gaming Institute Executive Director Bo Bernhard coined the term.

“I think we see greater convergence between the Macau experience and the Las Vegas experience, even though both steadfastly retain their original flavors, of course,” Bernard told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last fall. “Why wouldn’t this homogenization also happen with the integrated resort product that made Las Vegas famous?”

Both Vegas and foreign companies have billions of dollars wagered on Macau being able to accomplish those goals.