Casino Mogul Outplays Rivals With Bets Beyond Gaming

Lui Che Woo (right) and son Francis Lui attend a press conference.

This story is part of Forbes’ coverage of Hong Kong’s Richest 2021. See the full list here.

During a year that crimped gaming, Galaxy Entertainment remained relatively stable due to its nongaming offerings. Travel restrictions contributed to a more than 30 million drop in Macau’s visitor arrivals in 2020, to 6 million. Yet Galaxy’s shares have held steady since the beginning of 2020, despite a decline in most other Macau casino shares.

Lui Che Woo’s net worth at $17.8 billion is up 16% from last year’s list, even as Galaxy’s group net revenue fell 75% to HK$12.9 billion ($1.66 billion) year-on-year in 2020 and posted an adjusted EBITDA loss of HK$1 billion. In 2020’s fourth quarter, net revenue tripled from the prior quarter and EBITDA turned positive with quarantine-free travel to Macau restored from mainland China.

“The gradual reopening of travel from mainland China emphasizing individual and family tourism benefits Galaxy’s comprehensive nongaming facilities,” says University of Macau economist Ricardo Siu. Galaxy’s flagship resort, Galaxy Macau, features an artificial beach and a wave pool along with a casino, cineplex, restaurants, retail and hotels.

D.S. Kim, head of Asian gaming research for JPMorgan in Hong Kong, says Macau’s gaming revenue won’t return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023. But Siu says a $6.5 billion expansion of the Galaxy Macau, which includes a 15,000-seat arena and convention center, is due to begin opening in phases later this year and will position Galaxy well for the future.

As editor at large for Inside Asian Gaming following nearly a decade as a special correspondent for Macau Business magazine, I cover the casino business in Macau and

 

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