Inspire baccarat bets start circa Macau level says exec

Inspire baccarat bets start circa Macau level says exec
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The new Mohegan Inspire Entertainment Resort in South Korea, opened its two-level foreigner-only casino on Saturday, offering 150 table games, 390 slot machines and 160 electronic table games encompassing a live-dealer stadium.

The property anticipates that – while bet pricing is dynamic, depending on levels of demand – mass-market live baccarat games will cost around KRW50,000 (US$37.36). That is equivalent to approximately HKD292, and therefore similar to the lower end of the mass live-dealer table-game segment in Macau.

The information was given by Lucas Cai (pictured), Mohegan Inspire vice president of gaming. He was previously a vice president of gaming at the Marina Bay Sands casino resort in Singapore run by Las Vegas Sands Corp.

He spoke to GGRAsia on the eve of Mohegan Inspire’s casino launch, about the likely operating environment. The mass-play area is immediately upstairs from the ground floor, and the VIP area is upstairs from the mass one. The property opened the first-phase of its non-gaming facilities on November 30. It has 1,275 hotel rooms, 11 restaurants, and a 15,000-seat arena.

Mr Cai stated regarding the newly-launching gaming facilities: “Table minimum bet is pretty dynamic because that changes based on the demand that we see on the floor. We have different price points to cater to different groups of players”.

“For example, baccarat probably starts from about KRW50,000 [US$37.75]. Our premium-mass market would be offering a higher minimum bet. We also have a higher average daily theoretical loss range for our premium mass customers: KRW2 million to KRW2.5 million,” Mr Cai added.

He said in terms of mass-market slot machine and electronic table gaming, “we are introducing the newest products into the market which we hope will inject energy and vibrancy into the local market”.

Mr Cai noted concerning the casino customer base for the property near Incheon International Airport, promoted by the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority, trading as Mohegan Gaming: “There are a few target markets. Japan obviously is a big market and drives a lot of the current business levels for existing” South Korean foreigner-only casinos.

Target markets, junket partners

He added: “The Chinese market is another one, but we do expect a more gradual ramp in this segment.” While Southeast Asia was “a little further out” from Incheon, Mr Cai said “we will also enhance our efforts” there.

Regarding Mohegan Inspire’s VIP-player strategy, Mr Cai said in terms of junkets: “There are some experienced operators that have a presence across the region that we are looking to work with”. He said the use of private jets might be an option to bring in VIPs in the future.

Mr Cai stated: “South Korea is a market that has a lot of potential for growth. As a new entrant, we hope to be a growth catalyst and also to pursue joint growth with the existing operators in South Korea. We are confident that we can achieve synergies to collectively grow the market size, which is beneficial both from a tourism perspective, and also for individual operators.”

He added: “There are two ways that we are distinguishing ourselves… the first one is from a ‘hardware’ perspective.

“We are a large entertainment resort with a wide array of amenities, an arena, an indoor water park, a foreigner-only casino, hotel rooms with a multitude of food and beverage and retail options. Because of our scale, we are able to cater to a diverse group of customers across geographical regions with varying preferences.”

The second differentiator for Mohegan Inspire was “from a ‘software’ perspective,” said Mr Cai.

He explained: “Service and culture is a key part of our operations. And what we are aspiring to do is creating an extra bit of entertainment and fun in this building.

“We are referencing a lot of the service culture and elements that is a key success factor within our parent company, Mohegan [Gaming], and mixing that with the local culture of [South] Korea, to create a unique blend which represents Inspire”.

According to a Mohegan Inspire press release issued on Friday, the resort has created almost 2,400 jobs so far and was expected to generate another 600.

Mr Cai stated: “Recruitment has been a little challenging, but this is a recurring theme globally across multiple jurisdictions… However, we have focused on hiring efforts to ensure that we have the right team members that embody the Inspire spirit.”

Referring to Mohegan Gaming’s Native American roots as a tribal gaming operator in the U.S., Mr Cai said: “Our service standards are very much guided by the ‘Spirit of Aquai’, which has four key principles: welcoming; mutual respect; cooperation; and building relationships. We truly believe that by embracing this guiding philosophy, we can deliver a world-class experience to our customers”.