Casino service firm Macau Legend Development Ltd confirmed in a filing on Monday that the first of three new hotels in the Macau Fisherman’s Wharf theme park will open in the third quarter of this year. The Harbourview Hotel was previously planned to open in the last quarter of 2014 as part of the first phase of the redevelopment project of Fisherman’s Wharf.
“We are planning to have the soft opening in August or September. That is our tentative schedule, but the final date is not yet set,” a person working for the company, who requested not to be named, told GGRAsia.
The Harbourview Hotel will not house a casino. The property will be connected to the existent Babylon Casino by a skywalk, the person said.
Macau Legend, controlled by businessman David Chow Kam Fai, is building three new hotels and more entertainment venues in its Fisherman’s Wharf. The revamp, which includes two new casinos, will cost about HK$6 billion (US$774 million), HK$1 billion more than the original forecast, Mr Chow said in April.
Macau Legend operates the Babylon Casino and the Pharaoh’s Palace Casino at Landmark Macau hotel under a SJM Holdings Ltd licence.
The construction of the Legend Palace casino-hotel “is ahead of the original schedule”, the company said on Monday’s filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. The property should be ready in the second quarter of 2015. It was originally scheduled for the third quarter of 2015.
The construction of the Legendale Hotel, which will also house a casino, remains on schedule to open in the third quarter of 2016.
The two new casinos are still subject to the approval of Macau’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, the filing said. They are expected to accommodate 350 new gaming tables, if approved by the gaming regulator – some gaming tables may be allocated to Babylon Casino, Macau Legend said. That would increase the total number of gaming tables controlled by the company to approximately 500.
After the Fisherman’s Wharf revamp is completed, the group’s hotel room inventory will reach approximately 1,700.
Macau Legend shareholders will meanwhile vote at an extraordinary general meeting on July 3 on a variable-interest-entity (VIE) agreement between wholly-owned subsidiary Hong Hock Development Co Ltd and a VIP gaming promoter.
The company had said in April that the deal with New Legend VIP Club Ltd would enable Macau Legend to “diversify its business and indirectly participate in the gaming promotion business”.
The company is not allowed under Macau laws to participate directly in gaming promotion activities through a subsidiary. A VIE structure would allow Macau Legend to indirectly participate in the gaming promotion business and have a greater control over the management and marketing of the VIP rooms operated by New Legend in the casinos located in its properties, according to Monday’s filing.
Macau Legend also said it intends to allocate some of the new tables it is requesting from the gaming regulator to VIP rooms to be operated by New Legend. “The company intends to allocate approximately 20 percent to 40 percent of the new gaming tables to VIP rooms in the new hotels,” it said. Some of these gaming tables will be located to VIP rooms to be operated by New Legend.
Currently, New Legend only promotes a VIP room, New Legend VIP Club, in Pharaoh’s Palace Casino. The VIP club has six gaming tables, the company said.
“In the future, New Legend may promote other VIP room(s) in the same casino and/or other casinos which are located in the properties of the group,” it said.
Frederick Yip Wing Fat, sole director of New Legend and executive vice president of Macau Legend, told GGRAsia that the final details are still being worked out. “We have not yet decided on how many VIP rooms will be operated by New Legend in the future,” he said.
The company said the VIE agreement with New Legend would boost its share of the gross gaming revenue generated from New Legend’s VIP rooms to 42 percent, versus the current 2 percent, excluding expenses reimbursements. But in the event of a gross gaming loss incurred in any VIP room operated by New Legend, the company would bear 57 percent of the loss, it said.
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”I do not believe that this event [the collapse of a under-construction building in Sihanoukville] will slow down the issuance of [gaming] licences. Market forces will probably dictate the process as developers evaluate projected future demand for gaming in the region”
Senior partner at business consultancy Global Market Advisors