The chief executive of Macau-based casino operator MGM China Holdings Ltd, Grant Bowie, says it is “probably time” to update some policies and procedures regarding licensing processes in Macau. That would help meet the demands of a rapidly growing tourism industry, he said.
On Sunday, Mr Bowie (pictured in a file photo) was asked by local media about the recently-reported closure of some restaurants at City of Dreams Macau casino resort, a property operated by market rival Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd.
A total of 13 restaurants at City of Dreams Macau are being investigated by the Macao Government Tourism Office (MGTO) for not having the necessary permit to operate. Eight of those venues have been fined and served with a closure notice, according to the tourism bureau.
Asked if the opening of the under-construction MGM Cotai could face further delays because of licensing issues, Mr Bowie said that MGM China recognised there were processes it must go through in order to receive all the required approvals.
“We are working through those [licensing procedures] as we speak. We’ve always found MGTO to be cooperative and collaborative,” Mr Bowie told reporters on Sunday, on the sidelines of one of the company’s social responsibility activities.
But he added: “I would acknowledge that it is probably time for us to modernise some of our policies and procedures [in Macau]. Many of them have been in operation for 20 or 30 years, and I think it’s probably time [to update them], and that might be helpful for the government offices themselves to update the processes and procedures given the nature of a very rapidly expanding [tourism] industry.”
Mr Bowie additionally confirmed that MGM China is committed to open the Cotai property within 2017.
MGM China is targeting the fourth quarter of 2017 for the opening of the HKD26-billion (US$3.34-billion) MGM Cotai. The property was originally scheduled for a 2016 opening, according to previous filings from the company.
“We need to work with the government, with all the approvals [that are required],” said the MGM China CEO. “We have a series of dates, but … really is dependent on getting all the approvals; we obviously won’t be opening the property until we have all those approvals in place”.
He added: “We are excited, the property is getting together and we are very confident that it’s going to be a significant contributor to the diversification of Macau.”
MGM Cotai will offer approximately 1,500 hotel rooms and suites, a casino with capacity for 500 gaming tables, meeting space, a luxury spa, a theatre, shops and restaurants.
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"The stronger mass growth [in Macau in the second quarter] should be viewed positively vis- à-vis [the] government’s stated priority”
Japanese brokerage Nomura