Macau requires “completely new perspective” with art and culture as focus, says MGM China’s Pansy Ho


Pansy Ho, Chairperson of MGM China Holdings, said that a fresh perspective, with art and culture as the keys, is essential for the future of Macau, the world’s biggest gambling hub.

Ho believes that, particularly for MGM China, the focus should be on these two fronts. Macau, historically the sole authorized Western presence in China for centuries, is described by Ho as “so rich in terms of storytelling.”

The company engaged composer Tan Dun to create a piece inspired by Dunhuang, a renowned intersection point along the Silk Road recognized by UNESCO. MGM China has committed to rejuvenating the vicinity around the A-Ma Temple, the namesake origin of the city. Approximately 35,000 square meters of space, encompassing preserved old shipyard buildings, will undergo revitalization.

“I want all the creative minds,” she said at Fortune‘s Brainstorm Design conference in Macau. “We want to have the studios here. We want to have the art fairs here. We want to bring festivals here,” she was quoted in an article published in Fortune.

Ho, the daughter of the legendary Macau-based casino tycoon Stanley Ho, who pioneered the city’s gaming industry, holds a significant position at MGM China. Beyond her responsibilities there, she possesses shares in SJM Holdings, her late father’s venture that oversees the renowned Casino Lisboa in the city.

Additionally, Pansy Ho serves as the chair of Shun Tak Holdings, a conglomerate involved in various ventures, including the operation of ferry services connecting Macau and the neighboring Chinese city of Hong Kong.

While endorsing Macau’s economic diversification efforts, Pansy Ho expressed unwavering support for the gaming industry. Emphasizing the role of gaming in sustaining and expanding non-gaming facets, particularly in hospitality and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions), she underscores the desire to elevate the prominence of gaming in the region. “We want gaming to go up!” Ho said.

Macau’s gaming revenue for November receded to MOP16.04 billion ($2 billion), a level similar to July but up 435% compared to the same period of the previous year, according to data released by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.

While November’s GGR was some 17.7% behind the $19.50 billion posted in October 2023, the month still marked the fourth-highest monthly total so far in the year and is further proof of the constant year-on-year growth in the gambling hub since all restrictions related to Covid-19 were lifted.

With the November figure taken into consideration, the first 11 months of the year saw a total of MOP164.49 billion ($20.44 billion) in gross gaming revenue, up 324.9% year on year and about 61% compared to the 2019 level. Macau authorities expect the annual casino revenue to reach at least MOP170 billion ($21.12 billion) this year.

The Macau Government predicts that the local casino sector will be able to generate a total of MOP216 billion ($26.84 billion) in gross gaming revenue in 2024, a recovery that should allow the Macau SAR to once again record a financial surplus. Based on these figures, an average of about MOP18 billion ($2.2 billion) is needed each month to achieve that goal.