Macau is a place accustomed to business transition. Casinos have reopened

Macau is a place accustomed to business transition. Casinos have reopened

casinos_closures_end_Macau casinos were given the green light to open again at Midnight on Saturday under half-staffing rules and continued ingress and egress restrictions for the city.

At the same time, a new version of the former Portuguese enclave may be created – a Macau devoid of colonial history, the mad violence of the unregulated early days, and no need for masks or social distancing.

While there has been no overt mention of including a gambling component in the wider media, NFTs are involved, and a new metaverse rendition with some elements has been in the works for quite some time.

Beginning with otherworldy renditions of meeting spaces there at the beginning of the world health emergency of 2020, visionaries and entrepreneurs have been developing the wherewithal to service more than gambling and the other wholesome and less than acceptable practices that always occur where people and money, lots of money, gather.

“MICE” is an acronym that stands for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions. For several years, the Beijing government has been pushing Macau businesses to make MICE and family-friendly, culturally acceptable offerings a dominant part of the economy.

Going back to some numbers from the first quarter of 2019, long before anyone had heard of a new pandemic, the Statistics and Census Service (DSEC) there recorded some 377 MICE events over the first 3 months of the year with 333,000 participants – an increase of 19.9% over the previous year time period.

Nearly 1,000 individual exhibitors participated in those events, according to data from the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM).

While the MICE events offered over Virtual Reality channels during the pandemic may have given solace to some presenters and attendees, there is also a business argument for focusing more on integrating the data of real-world Macau into an experience that can be delivered to almost anyone, almost anywhere in the world.

Pomp and Circumstance Will Follow You There

Virtual visitors in the future can most likely expect the same terse dress codes and other filters when they visit a Macau property in the metaverse as they might find now, along with the same classism and assumed prejudices.

All rules in elite establishments are fluid for the entitled.

For now, something quite different is happening. Highly pixelated NFTs at the APE Nightclub in Mini Macau can help level the playing field for some.

More like an 8-bit video game played on a 10-kilo cathode ray tube television than the exquisite virtual reality experience of games like Red Matter 2 – Mini Macau has come to life.

When the blockchain finally takes the leap to handle the needs of the real-world actors who are currently burning hundreds of millions of dollars while people stay away – you just might be able to dawn a haptic glove that lets you feel the chips as you lay them down… you might hear the shuffler, and you might experience the same internal reactions to winning and losing each hand – but that will never happen in Mini Macau.

Only democratization of artificial intelligence and a focused public that will stand for nothing less than absolute excellence and perfection can bring that idea to life.

With Billions to Shed Macau Still Stands

Macau businesses are surviving the economic brutalization that started with a government crackdown, then a re-imagining of a rough and tumble pirate town with multi-billion-dollar casinos into a family-friendly Disneyland of sorts, and finally the devastation of Covid and a walk on a tight wire with the region’s first relicensing regime.

How it will transition into the metaverse is anyone’s guess. For now, the casinos are open again.

Casinos are Accepting Gamblers

After a two-week closure of Macau Casinos that came in the midst of burning millions of dollars a day in value, the doors and tables are once again open in the former Portuguese enclave of Macao.

As of Friday night, 35 gaming venues had been reopened with limited services after the Chinese government shut down all non-essential business in the city of about 600,000 for two weeks in order to snuff out a potential Covid surge there.

Macau, as a special administrative region (SAR) of China, is subject to the country’s “Covid-Zero” policy.

Nearly 2,000 people tested positive there over the last few weeks with no new community transmissions reported on Saturday, over the weekend.

Normally, there is robust movement between Macau, the next-door Chinese city of Zhuhai, and the other SAR, Hong Kong. Human traffic includes workers as well as tourists.

While the casinos and other non-essential businesses are now allowed to operate, travel to and from the gambling center – the only one in China with a population of more than 1.4 billion people – is still highly restricted.

Casinos are currently allowed a staffing level of 50% and guests must maintain a personal space of 2 square meters, or about 20 square feet.

According to a report on GGRAsia, Brokerage Daiwa Capital Markets Hong Kong Ltd. doesn’t expect the testing and travel restrictions to return to “normal” much before the end of September.

Source: APE white paper on metaverse for casino resort marketing, GGRAsia, Jul 26, 2022

Author: Henry Brown