News & Insights
Upping the game
A veteran of VIP sales across Asia-Pacific, Marcus Lim has launched a company called Vault Corporation which aims to breathe new life into the VIP gaming space while addressing the KYC and compliance concerns that have plagued the sector.
Once the lifeblood of Macau’s casinos and a segment tenaciously pursued by casino operators around the world, the VIP gaming market finds itself facing unprecedented headwinds in 2023.
With mainland China’s widely touted crackdown on cross-border gambling having decimated the Macau junket industry, the narrative has long shifted away from VIP and towards mass and “premium mass” as the future of land-based gaming.
Likewise, regulatory actions taken against leading Australian casino operators Crown Resorts and Star Entertainment Group, largely due to their relationships with Asian junkets, has cast a shadow on their prospects of attracting high-wealth customers in the future.
Yet the death of VIP has been massively overstated according to Marcus Lim – the former head of VIP sales teams for leading operators Marina Bay Sands, Sands China, Crown Resorts and Star Entertainment Group – who has put his money where his mouth is by launching his own hotel and casino management agency, Vault Corporation.
“The VIP market has always been an important one that if done correctly, will garner huge top-line revenue with minimal resources,” Marcus, Vault’s founder and CEO, tells Inside Asian Gaming.
“I believe that the VIP market is still what operators who built properties that are worth billions of dollars really want and need, but the approach to tackle this lucrative segment needs to be through working with the correct partners. These partners must first understand the VIPs, not just from experience, but also by using evidence-based data, ensuring proper governance and enforcing self-regulation while helping the casinos close sales.” It was with this in mind that Marcus and his former Star team established Vault, utilizing the experiences garnered while working in Australia then applying their own methodology to address key issues impacting the VIP sector – namely compliance and risk management.
Vault was essentially founded to help casinos and integrated resorts around the world outsource their global sales unit,” Marcus explains.
Having worked in international sales for most of my career, I recognized that there was a much more cost-effective way for casinos and resorts to accelerate sales as well as having better risk management, which is becoming increasingly important given the current climate and regulatory headwinds.
“It was an opportunity to execute a methodology that I have been developing since 2018. I saw a gap in the industry that could help casinos and resorts increase sales while at the same time improve compliance and risk management.
“Of course, no one expected the pandemic to last as long as it did, but that also gave us time to fine-tune our plan, develop products that facilitated a better sales experience for customers and get ourselves fully licensed.
“It was two tough years, but at the same time, it ensured that we were operationally ready when travel resumed.”
While Marcus shies away from use of the word “junket operator” to describe Vault – as it does not fully portray what Vault does as a business – he is quick to point out that the services they provide remain vital to casino operators to this day.
What sets Vault apart, he says, is not only the fact that its focus is very much on compliance but that the services it provides include full KYC (Know Your Customer) and audit checks.
“In its purest form, [a junket] is really a sales job where casinos and resorts incentivize sales teams to bring customers to their properties,” Marcus continues. “That’s no different from sales jobs in any other industry, whether you’re selling cars or private wealth investment products.