- Texas Hold’em is not among the most profitable games for Macau casinos but it can attract younger players
- MGM Holdings have opened a poker room in its MGM Cotai and MGM Macau properties
- In Q1 of 2023, the game generated MOP90 million, surpassing full-year 2022 revenue of MOP10 million
Texas Hold’em is less popular compared to other casino games in Macau and is not considered a significant revenue driver but it remains beneficial for casino operators in the city in terms of attracting a younger customer base as well as players from overseas.
This is one of the reasons why the game is making a comeback this year, according to industry observers.
Limited Poker Offerings in Macau
Texas Hold’em is the most popular variant of the card game of poker and is widely played across the globe. It has become increasingly popular among younger players in China, but in Macau, the number of venues offering this game is limited, mainly because it does not generate that much revenue for operators.
Alidad Tash of the gaming industry consultancy firm 2NT8 Ltd said the low revenue is attributable to the commission system involved in the game, whereby casinos only get a small portion of the players’ winnings, compared to other games where the host venue takes the entire bet if the player loses.
In the pre-pandemic period though, Wynn Macau managed to attract a large number of high-stakes players to its poker room, contributing to a record-breaking Texas Hold’em revenue of MOP446 million (US$55.4 million) in Macau in 2019. After that peak, revenue from the game significantly decreased – from MOP35 million in 2020 to just MOP10 million in 2022. No revenue from the game was recorded in 2021.
Poker Room Now Operating at MGM Macau and MGM Cotai
In 2023 though, Texas Hold’em is making quite of a comeback, with the segment’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) already sitting at MOP90 million in the first quarter alone.
Citigroup analysts Ryan Cheung and George Choi stated in a note in June that MGM China Holdings launched a poker room at its MGM Cotai and MGM Macau properties. The venues are now offering poker games after being granted permission by the Macau government to open 200 additional gaming tables.
Ryan Ho Hong Wai, lecturer at the Center for Gaming and Tourism Studies at Macao Polytechnic University, stated that Texas Hold’em may serve as an important marketing tool for casino operators to draw younger players. As a “spillover effect”, these players are likely to try other games at the casino and patronize other resort amenities, including dining, shopping, and accommodation.