• Mon
  • Jul 28, 2014
  • Updated: 5:09pm

Macau slot machines shunned: it's a question of psychology

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 June, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 June, 2008, 12:00am

Slot-machine makers hoping for a bigger slice of Macau's booming casino pie are setting themselves up for failure. Many from the US are lured by the prospect of a huge market, with slot machines accounting for less than 5 per cent of annual gaming revenue in the former Portuguese enclave, compared with 80 per cent in Las Vegas.

They are in for a disappointment. Already people are grumbling at a gaming convention in Macau this week about clients who are drawn to baccarat tables like magnets; few pay attention to slot machines, which have been localised with themes about dragons and horses.

This shows a woeful understanding of Chinese psychology when it comes to gambling. It's an ego and face thing. The high rollers are mostly from the mainland, and are in the casinos as much for the attention and flattery these places shower on them as for the gambling. These people contribute three-quarters of gaming revenues. They would consider sitting alone in front of a slot machine all night the supreme act of a loser, though they would probably lose a lot less money doing so. If they surround the machines with scantily dressed women and make it HK$1,000 a shot, with a minimum of 10 shots, they may have a better chance of attracting the high rollers.

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