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Foreigner-only gaming rooms have failed in Macao, according to MGM

The lack of interest in such facilities on the part of visitors is apparently one reason casino operators are moving to implement RFID technology.

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Players’ aversion to foreigner-only gaming zones is part of the reason more casino operators plan to roll out RFID technology-enabled tables in the near future, Inside Asia Gaming (IAG) reports.

The zones were set up in some Macao casinos last year, to help operators to figure out how much gaming revenue was generated by players from outside Greater China. The move was sparked by a government policy proposed to reduce the tax rate charged on revenue earned by foreigners. 

However, CEO and President of MGM Resorts, Bill Hornbuckle, told the specialist gaming publication that the zones failed to gain traction with players, who “do not want to be isolated.”

[See more: Foreigner gaming tax rebates do not appear to be happening]

Hornbuckle said that MGM had found using radio frequency identification (RFID) tables and chips was a far more effective means of tracking individual players. 

MGM pioneered the technology’s usage in Macao back in 2016, initially to figure out where more labour was needed at its casinos and to manage inventory, Hornbuckle said. But it also gave MGM a “huge head start” when the government wanted the SAR’s gaming operators to keep track of foreign players’ money.

He told IAG that the technology allowed foreigners to “go anywhere they want in the casino” – rather than be herded into private rooms – by tracking each person’s every play.

[See more: RFID tables will soon be standard at casinos in Macao: report]

Galaxy Entertainment, Melco and SJM have all confirmed that at least some of their casinos will be using RFID tables by the end of this year (Melco’s are set to roll out this month). 

According to Hornbuckle, the technology was a game changer that the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau supported whole heartedly.

“They enjoy it and they love it because they can see it, they can understand it,” he told IAG. “It’s truly trackable and you can see that [other concessionaires] are now trying to see how quickly they can get to the same technology.”

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