MGM China Sees Macau Casino VIP Business Pick Up

MGM China Holdings Ltd., the Macau casino venture between a daughter of gambling mogul Stanley Ho and MGM Resorts International, said business from VIP gamblers has picked up after the Lunar New Year holiday.

Business from VIP, or high-stakes gamblers, has seen a “strong comeback” after the festival that ended on Feb. 17, Bill Hornbuckle, chief marketing officer of MGM Resorts, told reporters in Macau yesterday.

High-rollers from China’s mainland curbed spending amid a slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy last year and analysts including those at HSBC Global Research said some VIPs stayed away to avoid crowds during the holiday. The VIP business accounts for about two thirds of casino revenue in Macau.

MGM China yesterday said it hasn’t seen any sign of a Chinese crackdown on the junket operators who offer credit and bring VIP gamblers to Macau.

“There’s never any real, concrete indication or direction from the government,” said Pansy Ho, chairman of MGM China and daughter of Stanley Ho. “Although the growth rate of VIP business may slow, I’m not aware of any crackdown.”

MGM China rose 1.4 percent to HK$18.74 at the close of Hong Kong trading. The benchmark Hang Seng Index climbed 2 percent.

MGM China yesterday broke ground on its first resort on Cotai, the piece of reclaimed land in Macau that is Asia’s equivalent of the Las Vegas strip. The company joins rivals including Sands China Ltd. and Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. in expanding in the world’s largest gambling hub.

MGM’s Cotai resort will cost $2.6 billion to construct, will include 1,600 hotel rooms, as many as 500 gaming tables and 2,500 slot machines. It is scheduled to open by mid-2016.

Pansy Ho said she has no plan to cut her 27 percent stake in MGM China.

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