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Michael Hu: Reflecting on the last 20 years of Macau gaming

Michael Hu

President -  Asia Pacific, Interblock Gaming

When did you arrive in Macau and in what capacity?

I arrived in 2005, working for Interblock as a sales director. We pretty much started from zero at that time.

What were your first impressions?

There was only one casino at the time besides SJM, which was Sands Macau. It was the first IR for the casino industry. We could see that there was huge market potential, with lots of licenses and construction going on. At the time, however, we were the only ETG provider, and the market was in its infancy. Cultivating the ETG market and its concept was the challenge then.

What are the biggest changes you have seen in your section of the industry?

There is a common agreement that ETGs have seen rapid growth and development. This has been attributed to market pressures such as higher labor costs, less manpower, and the growth in demand from players for more privacy and individual experiences - all these elements go into gaming which has led to the growth of ETGs.

What have you found most challenging or memorable?

We’ve found the Macau market to be a very traditional one. Any new games or new configurations take time for the market to accept. Players tend to be very conservative about new concepts. This is due to the majority of Macau players being from mainland China, where gambling and gambling promotion is illegal. They only know and trust live table games - which has led to ETGs having to offer live dealers in order to be successful.
We made this change to make people more comfortable with our machines. But it represents a slowdown in innovation.

Share a curious/ funny episode that could only have happened in Macau?

It’s interesting to see that the game of Sic-Bo works perfectly for the Macau market, but is not popular anywhere else in the world.

How are you expecting Macau to evolve in the next 20 years?

Over the next 20 years, while revenue will continue to grow steadily, I think you’ll see slow
adoption of new technology. The speed of acceptance in Macau is indeed slow.

Asia Gaming Brief is a news and intelligence service providing up to date market information for worldwide executives on relevant gaming issues in Asia.

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