TOP gaming lounge Monte Carlo has embarked on an upgrading excercise and promotional campaign as it aims to reaffirm its dominance in a lucrative industry it helped kick-start 10 years ago.
The 10,000 square-foot entertainment centre, run by the Hussey family inside their own Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston, has added a custom-built Interblock 12 seater horse-racing machine with a 90-inch screen, a seven-seater electronic Black Jack table that shuffles real cards, among other amenities.
"We plan to add new machines on a regular basis to keep the variety of games interesting," family matriarch Ruth Hussey told the Business Observer.
The development coincides with the gaming lounge's 10th anniversary celebrations, a milestone it marked in spectacular fashion last Wednesday with a party to which hundreds of its loyal customers were invited. What's more is that the lounge, via a grand draw, will give away a black 2013 C-Class Mercedes Benz valued at $6.4 million, and cash prizes of $2 million and $1 million to three lucky patrons in December.
Indeed, Monte Carlo is the dominant player in an industry that has attracted an abundance of new interests over the last couple of years -- triggered by the lifting of an eight-year ban on the issuing of licences for gaming lounges, which are allowed to operate with 20-150 machines at a time.
Gross turnover in the gaming lounge sector totalled $25.1 billion up to the fiscal year ending March 2011, according to Betting, Gaming & Lotteries Commission (BG&LC) figures. The Monte Carlo at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel in Kingston was the sector's market leader, with gross profits of some $1.3 billion in 2010-11, followed by Supreme Ventures Limited's Acropolis in Barbican, which made $360 million in gross profits over the period.
Since then, players such as Macau Gaming Lounge and Vault have entered the market to get their share of the pie. But Hussey does not appear to feel too threatened by the increasing competition.
"We have a good location, we offer good security, we offer good service, we try hard," said Hussey, adding that Monte Carlo benefits from the owners being deeply involved in the day-to-day running of the lounge, fostering a family-like atmosphere.
"There is a lot of competition, but we are not afraid of competition because we have a unique market, unique space and unique service," Hussey said. "And we are always here, we don't have managers running our place, we the Husseys run the place."