When Shaun McCamley started his career as a croupier in London in 1977, he did not realize the opportunities that would materialize, 37 years later, when he became the president of the Grand Ho Tram Strip in Vietnam, one of Southeast Asia’s largest casino resorts.
Since leaving London in 1979, McCamley moved on to international appointments in senior casino management roles at a members-only, junket and premium player facility at the Burswood Resort Casino in Perth, Western Australia, group vice president of gaming development at a casino resort in Subic Bay in the Philippines, and general manager of the Tinian Dynasty Hotel & Casino in the Northern Marianas Islands.
After leaving the operations side of the business, McCamley started a consultancy in 2004 and became a resident guru in regional Asian casino markets.
“Throughout all of my experiences, I have never forgotten what life is like on the tables,” McCamley says, “and I believe that gives me a perspective quite rare in this industry.”
This well-rounded experience has allowed McCamley to bring his expertise to the changing market in Southeast Asia.
Over the past few years, the Southeast Asia market has been looking for ways to diversify, predominately from Macau. Different initiatives have been conducted throughout several markets. Singapore, for instance, has had huge success in focusing its efforts on attracting a market segment different from Macau’s standard VIP patrons, better known as the premium mass. The premium mass market is booming internationally, and with these patrons it’s not all about gaming; it’s about providing high-quality entertainment with first-class celebrity value.
The regional markets in Asia currently have the opportunity to capitalize on this trend.
“At Ho Tram, the property is able to differentiate itself with Asia’s only beachfront integrated resort,” says McCamley, “and this has a huge potential in providing good entertainment with world-class facilities.”
While the macro market continues to shift, Vietnam attains an interesting position as it considers local gaming.
“It’s fair to say that Vietnam from a strictly gaming viewpoint has its challenges. However, as a tourist destination, it has to be high on the list of premier destinations to visit in the region,” McCamley continues. “We are definitely seeing changes in the market player mix now, and that change is being led by customers asking for something different.”
McCamley understands the needs of this market, and has been able to adapt the marketing program for Ho Tram. Outside of the current market segments, executives at Ho Tram are excited by the prospect of locals gaming in Vietnam.
“One of the most important things to watch here, however, is the draft decree on local gaming,” he points out. “We are all waiting to see how that shapes up, as it clearly could be big news for us in the near future.”
Under McCamley’s direction, Ho Tram is poised to continue its positive growth and position itself as one of the regional gaming hubs in Southeast Asia.
“There is so much going on at the moment. We just launched The Bluffs, a Greg Norman-designed links golf course, which has met incredible acclaim. We are happier with the performance of VIP, but there is still room for growth, and a lot of our focus now is on building out the mass floor and entertainment facilities.”