The gambling industries has long been one of those 80/20 kind of industries. Those are the businesses where 80 percent of the revenue comes from 20 percent of the customers. More specifically, gambling operators rely on a minuscule portion of the player pool who spend disproportionate amount of cash and, therefore, generate a disproportionate amount of revenue. VIP players, whales, whatever you want to call them, bring in big bucks.
But can casinos count on VIPs to return when the pandemic is done? A number of gambling industry analysts are suggesting that VIP play might not come back anytime soon to the hallowed gaming temples in Macau and Las Vegas.
According to a recent report on CalvinAyre.com, Macau’s casinos in particular took a huge hit in 2020 due to a lack of VIP play. Most casinos there reported their lowest revenue ever. Besides the pandemic closures through much of the year, casinos were also hit by a clampdown on internal travel and other bureaucratic obstacles that made VIP travel seem not very appealing.
The drop in VIP gambling could prove beneficial for casinos that serve larger markets. Analysts quoted recently on CalvinAyre.com describe the situation saying, “In the early stage of recovery, we expect operators who have outsized relative positions in premium mass to fundamentally outperform (Melco and Wynn Macau top picks) over the next 6+ months, as premium customers are less affected by the economic impact related to COVID-19 and fewer numbers of customers are necessary to drive GGR growth.”
Whatever happens, it’s clear that pandemic will have a very long lasting impact on the gambling business worldwide.