VIP and premium mass customers made up of only one percent of visitors in 2018, yet drove around 70 percent of total GGR, according to analysts from Bernstein.
The analysts in a note on Friday said that while GGR growth was boosted by strong VIP spending in late 2016 to mid-2018, the gaming industry’s value driver will actually come from the secular growth of mass and premium mass.
“It is clear that premium customers remain critical for long-term Macau growth, as wealthier customers spend more and come more frequently – and the population of this demographic is increasing,” said the brokerage.
Of this market segment, Guangdong is expected to remain as the key feeder province, however, Shandong, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Shanghai, Hunan, and Henan are expected to deliver significant growth and will be critically important for future growth of the premium customer base, said the brokerage.
Looking ahead, Bernstein says it also expects technological innovation to play a bigger role in the gaming industry in the coming years, including RFID chips and gaming tables, AI and facial recognition technology for security purposes, and big data.
Though, Bernstein admits that AI and facial recognition is “still in its early years.”
“Casino operators who are better poised in adopting and utilizing these technologies could stand to benefit especially over the long-run,” said Bernstein.