RFID chips a route for Macau foreign play tracking: MGM

Players from overseas that visit Macau casinos do not like to be put in rooms specially-designated for them, even though such a Macau government initiative offers the casino operators the possibility of a lower tax on such customers’ gross gaming revenue (GGR). That is the viewpoint of the boss of MGM Resorts International, parent company of Macau operator MGM China Holdings Ltd.

Foreign – i.e., non-Greater China – customers “didn’t like” being segregated, said Bill Hornbuckle, chief executive and president of MGM Resorts. He was speaking during the JP Morgan Gaming, Lodging, Restaurant & Leisure Management Access Forum, held in the United States on Thursday.

MGM China runs casino resorts MGM Macau and MGM Cotai (pictured) in the Chinese gambling hub.

Mr Hornbuckle’s commentary came in the context of discussion of use of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology in gaming chips, for monitoring the monetary integrity of games.

Typically, such RFID know-how is used to verify and monitor the use, location, and value of casino chips employed in table games.

As long ago as 2016 – under the previous Macau gaming concession period – MGM China has been on record as using RFID for table games.

Mr Hornbuckle said in his latest comments that an important benefit of RFID was that it was possible to link gaming chips to an individual player, and thus identify and track overseas players, a segment the Macau government would like to see expanded relative to the city’s traditional tourism market of Greater China, i.e., the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

He stated during Thursday’s investor forum: “We put in a ‘chip in chip’ programme several years ago where basically every [gaming] chip is tracked.

“The benefit of that at the time was no errors to the game,” and the casino brand “knew exactly where to put our labour,” he added.

The MGM Resorts CEO also noted: “There was a bunch of back-end benefits in terms of accounting, finance, etcetera.”

He further observed that now “the marketplace is asking for international business outside of Greater China, which means [beyond] Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China.

“The only way to track that effectively, because it was [potentially] a different tax bracket, was to put it in… private rooms [within the casino]. That meant everyone from [places such as] Thailand go over to that little room over there and gamble…”

Under the initiative offering discrete gaming zones for overseas players, Macau’s casino concessionaires have to submit the necessary paperwork in order to be entitled to an exemption – at the Chief Executive’s discretion – of up to 5 percentage points of the 40 percent government levy on GGR.

A problem was, said Mr Hornbuckle, regarding the separate play areas: “Customers didn’t like it.”

He noted that by using special RFID chips for foreign players, casino operators in Macau could still track GGR generated by non-Greater China punters without the need to put these players in separate gambling areas.

Mr Hornbuckle said RFID chip use for such purpose was “a real advantage” because such customers “do not want to be isolated and told where to go.”

It was unclear from Mr Hornbuckle’s comments whether MGM China was already using its RFID chip programme to track foreign play at the firm’s two Macau casinos.

Rival Macau operators Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd and Melco Resorts & Entertainment Ltd, have recently said they are introducing RFID technology to their table games.

BY: 온라인카지노

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