This article first appeared in the July 2017 issue of WGM.
Andrew W Scott: First of all, as Chief Operating Officer of Galaxy Entertainment Group (GEG) for almost two years now, you’ve had time to see the company grow and develop. What in your opinion separates Galaxy from Macau’s many other resorts?
Kevin Kelley: I think you can explain it very simply. We’ve got a great menu of facilities that really entice and excite our guests. When you think about our restaurant offerings across many different flavours of Chinese food, I think that strikes a chord with our core guests.
We’ve worked really hard on developing a gaming product that provides the sort of value most of our guests are looking for. And above all else, you can’t have quality operations without great people who deliver great service.
We have what we call world class “Asian Heart” service and that begins with the people we hire — people who have that “Asian Heart” and want to deliver an experience above and beyond what our competition can offer. When you put that all together — great hardware, great food and great gaming products — it’s a terrific proposition for customers.
AWS: GEG has three main properties — Galaxy Macau, StarWorld and Broadway — as well as your three City Clubs casinos in Waldo, President and Rio. Can you explain the difference between the properties? And more importantly, if I want to play, how do I know which one to choose?
KK: Galaxy Macau gets all the headlines for its scale, its presence and its diversified amenity offerings. When you talk about our brand recognition in China, we rank pretty high and we are always focused on increasing our brand awareness in China. That’s something we will always push forward on in terms of our broader customer base.
But we do have a diversified menu of offerings — Broadway, City Clubs, StarWorld — and some fundamentals prevail across all of them. We look at a number of factors. Is it a convenient location? Is it easy to get in and out of the building? Do we offer great food? Do we have friendly, accommodating staff? Do we offer great gaming value that people can get behind?
We try to develop and execute those fundamentals at all of our properties. So if you’re in a City Club or you’re on the food street at Broadway and feel like gaming, or you’re on the Peninsula near StarWorld, one thing we can guarantee is that when you walk in, you’ll recognize the experience, you’ll have a great time and you’ll feel good. We want guests to enjoy that same experience across all of our facilities, even though they are actually quite diverse.
AWS: Looking specifically at your flagship property Galaxy Macau, we’ve noticed an increase in new products targeted at the mass market visitor as opposed to just high limit tables. Is that something you’ve focused on?
KK: Ours is a continuously evolving market, but we have some very smart people on our team who understand the changes in the market and we’ve been able to identify opportunities for new gaming products that we believe will resonate with the players coming to Galaxy. Duo Fu Duo Cai is a perfect example [Galaxy Macau recently created Duo Fu Duo Cai – a dedicated area of 128 machines featuring the highly popular slots game]. We’ve taken the most popular slot machine in all of Macau and packaged it in a way that is dynamic, exciting and easy for players to use because they can see it, it’s clear and they can understand what it is.
We did the same with LT Game (the leading supplier of electronic gaming terminals in Macau). We could see the continuing growth trend of LT Game terminals and I think everyone across the whole gaming industry in Macau has enjoyed the fruits of improved performance from LT Game.
Although we’ve had LT Game terminals for some time now, we said to ourselves, “How can we learn from what we currently have and improve it, do it bigger and better?” As a result, we set up a new stadium of terminals near the Diamond Lobby that’s quite spectacular. It’s advanced our learning and sets the bar higher in terms of being innovative and giving players what they want.
It’s great too that our Vice Chairman, Francis Lui, is extraordinarily supportive and really loves our capacity to develop new things in a way that continually raises the bar here at Galaxy.
AWS: Galaxy Macau has also recently renovated and relaunched its poker room. What inspired you to do that?
KK: It’s funny; we had a space on our gaming floor — up at the front of the building near the Diamond Lobby — that was originally a higher limit baccarat area, but people just never really liked going there. It didn’t really fit very well and it was always under-performing; we found that we could place those baccarat tables somewhere else and they would perform much better. So we were left with this space and we wondered, “What are we going to do with it? Do we make a restaurant out of it? Or a lounge?”
In the end we said, “Let’s put some poker tables in there and see what happens.” We weren’t really expecting a lot, but the team did a very good job of developing a poker product that people really liked. The rake was very affordable and for people who play a lot of poker, it’s all about how much it costs to continue playing.
Next thing we knew, the room took off! We developed a regular clientele that supported the room. We’ve since moved it across to Hall 6 and it has developed its own little ecosystem there. It’s not a huge game, but people find value for money in it and there’s enough action to keep it going.
AWS: Although Galaxy Macau is already among the most prominent and successful resorts in Macau, it’s really only half finished, with Phase 3 and Phase 4 of construction still to come over the next few years. What can we expect from these future phases?
KK: We really buy into the government’s edict of developing a first class, diversified entertainment offering for our future projects, so you can expect that we’re going to have world class hotels, dining, entertainment and gaming. Everything that we have developed and learned from so far over the past 10 or 15 years in Macau provides a foundation for what we’re going to do going forward.
Mr Lui says it best; everything that has been developed to date in Cotai has been second generation. First generation was the development of the Macau Peninsula resorts, then we came to the Cotai Strip to develop the second generation.
We believe we now have a responsibility to the industry to develop the third generation. That’s very broad, but we’re excited about the direction we’re headed in — and rest assured, what’s yet to come at Galaxy will be a truly world class facility that makes China and Macau very proud.