Macau casino operator Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd will get 150 new-to-market live gaming tables for its HKD19.6-billion (US$2.5-billion) Galaxy Macau Phase 2 property, said Macau’s Secretary for Economy and Finance, Lionel Leong Vai Tac (pictured), in comments on Thursday.
Mr Leong told reporters that the government’s decision was made based on the new non-gaming features to be offered by Galaxy Macau Phase 2 and sister property Broadway at Galaxy Macau, both opening on May 27 in the city’s Cotai district. The official added these features would help diversify the city’s tourism offering.
Galaxy Macau Phase 2′s non-gaming facilities include two luxury hotels under the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott brands, shops, food and beverage outlets, meetings space and the expansion of the property’s Grand Resort Deck, featuring swimming pools and gardens.
Broadway at Galaxy Macau includes a 3,000-seat theatre. The complex will have a mass-market appeal, with live performances, bands, street entertainers and hawker-style vendors, according to Galaxy Entertainment.
The government also took into consideration the partnerships formed with local small- and medium-sized enterprises for the two new properties, Mr Leong added.
Galaxy Entertainment had said in previous public statements that Phase 2 has capacity for 500 tables and 1,000 slot machines.
Mr Leong stated that the allocation of 150 new tables to the project complied with Macau’s table cap system. He added that Galaxy Entertainment could move around its overall table inventory between properties better to meet the firm’s operational needs.
Galaxy Entertainment currently operates Galaxy Macau Phase 1 on Cotai and StarWorld casino hotel in the Macau peninsula. Casino Waldo also operates under Galaxy Entertainment’s licence but is managed by Hong Kong-listed Paradise Entertainment Ltd, headed by Jay Chun. President Casino and Rio Casino follow a similar format, also being managed by third parties.
The Macau table cap scheme, effective since 2013, is designed to limit compound annual growth in the number of new live gaming tables to three percent until December 2022 – from a base of 5,485 tables as recorded by the local casino regulator at the end of the fourth quarter 2012.
At the end of last year, there were a total of 5,711 licensed tables in Macau. The figure had dropped slightly – to 5,704 – at the end of the first quarter of 2015, according to official data from the city’s gaming regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
Macau government officials have previously said that the approximately 2,000 new-to-market tables envisaged under the table cap for the Macau market between January 2013 and December 2022 could be allocated to time with new openings rather than in strict annual increments.
During his Thursday comments, Mr Leong added that the Macau government had not received requests for more gaming tables from any of the other five casino operators in the territory.
Another new Cotai casino resort, Studio City, majority-owned by Melco Crown Entertainment Ltd, is scheduled to open in the third quarter of this year, according to statements by the firm’s management. The property has been designed for 500 tables,and the firm “hoped” to get as many as 400 early in the resort’s operation, company co-chairman Lawrence Ho Yau Lung said in January.
The official table numbers for Galaxy Macau Phase 2 had been eagerly awaited by investors – and Galaxy Entertainment’s market competitors – as a likely guidepost to the Macau government’s attitude to gaming market growth in the city in the next few years. Last month, Daiwa Securities Group Inc and Japanese brokerage Nomura had said in separate notes that they believed Galaxy Macau Phase 2 was likely to get 150 new-to-market tables.
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